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Freaked out by in-home delivery? Blame August CEO Jason Johnson – CNET

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In-home package delivery could grow to rival voice assistants as a driver of smart home product sales. At least that’s what August Home CEO Jason Johnson tells us. 

It’s also apparently the belief of Sweden’s Assa Abloy, the world’s largest lock maker and the parent to Yale Locks. Assa Abloy just acquired August Home, in part because of August’s in-home delivery technology, August Access.

August Access was Amazon Key before Amazon Key existed. Amazon rolled out Key in October 2017 as an in-home delivery service that lets you authorize a delivery person to enter your home with a temporary digital key. The key works with an Amazon-certified smart lock, and Amazon’s Cloud Cam captures footage of the drop-off for you to watch remotely. Johnson has been testing the same concept for packages, but also for dog walkers, dry cleaning pick-up and others, with August Access since October 2015. 

Jason Johnson, CEO of August Home

August

Here at CES 2018, August announced a new partner for August Access, the last-mile delivery logistics firm, Deliv. Deliv will essentially help August create a platform for in-home delivery that August can then turn into partnerships with brick-and-mortar retailers.

I met with Johnson at August’s suite in the Venetian Hotel here in Las Vegas to discuss in-home delivery, his company’s acquisition and whether you might one day let someone deliver food directly to your refrigerator.

Johnson: We had the vision for in-home delivery from the beginning, five years ago. We were telling Amazon about it, probably four years ago.

What did they think when you first told them?

Johnson: I told [Amazon CEO, Jeff] Bezos and Jeff Wilke [Amazon’s chief executive of world wide consumer], and they got it. They’re like, that’s really interesting. That would be really interesting to try to do something. We spent a lot of time working together. They’ve launched Amazon Key. We haven’t announced with them what our relationship is, and where August fits into Amazon Key. But we have an active relationship with Amazon.

That relationship will be developing?

Johnson: The relationship is developing. And in the meantime, we’ve got a whole bunch of other relationships that we’ve been developing. The announcement [Tuesday] is a way for us to lay out the universal home delivery platform for August Access, before our various retail partners make their announcements in the coming months and quarters. There’s a whole bunch of them that we’ve been working with to develop programs.

Now you haven’t described the retail partners yet.

Johnson: We’re not announcing the retail partners today. Today, if you order on Walgreens or from Kroger or others, Deliv will do the last mile logistics. They go to the store, pick up the item, they bring it to your house. Today, it’s dropped at the door. What we’ve been working on with Deliv is to enter the front door, just a couple feet and drop it inside.

Amazon Key in action.

Amazon

Best Buy, who’s an existing Deliv partner, won’t necessarily be delivering inside your house yet? That part still needs to be worked out with each individual retail partner?

Johnson: The way it works, Amazon Key is a good example. Amazon’s a retailer, and they launched their service, it’s their announcement. Who provides the locks on the back end is secondary. The same thing will happen with each of these August Access partners. Each retailer will make their announcement, and it’s their program. It’s already public we’re working with Walmart. Walmart will make an announcement of their in-home delivery program, and it’s their announcement, not our announcement. Today’s announcement is our way to introduce our platform before we get blurred into being

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