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UAE Stores May Soon Accept Payments Through Your Palm

The technology is known as PalmPay and will be rolled out throughout 2024, allowing users to leave their phones and bank cards at home.

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uae stores may soon accept payments through your palm

Shoppers in the United Arab Emirates may soon be able to leave their phones and bank cards at home as a new payment technology rolls out across the country this year.

PalmPay, a system devised by developers Astra Tech, uses contactless biometric palm recognition technology. It allows users to hover their hand over a payment terminal to make a payment, just like in a sci-fi movie.

“The rollout of the PalmPay technology is planned to happen gradually throughout 2024,” Abdallah Abu Sheikh, founder of Astra Tech, explained. “We currently have a certain number of machines which will be used for testing purposes within the local market infrastructure [ensuring] complete readiness for scaling to over 50,000 PayBy merchants throughout the year,” Sheikh added.

PayBy is a popular UAE payment platform and fintech subsidiary of Astra Tech. The company also has plans to integrate the palm recognition technology with banks “in the future”, enabling users to link their accounts with it.

PalmPay will be free for users who will be able to register using their devices at special point-of-sale terminals. In the future, palm authentication will be integrated into apps, allowing customers to update their accounts with palm prints through an authentication feature on their phones.

Also Read: A Guide To Digital Payment Methods In The Middle East

Astra Tech says the technology is more secure than traditional card payments and is not limited to specific industries or sectors. The company believes PalmPay will work especially well in high-volume sectors such as retail stores and could significantly speed up the checkout experience during busy times.

Aside from the wow factor, PalmPay is said to be a “cost-effective solution” for merchants and could help “financial inclusion for the unbanked population”, Astra Tech explained.

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Truecaller To Use Microsoft Azure AI Speech For Call Answering

The new service features a powerful speech generation tool to allow users to create AI versions of their voices.

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truecaller to use microsoft azure ai speech for call answering
Truecaller

Truecaller, a well-known app for identifying and blocking spam calls, is enhancing its services by allowing users to create AI versions of their voices. The new feature, available to those with access to Truecaller’s AI Assistant, stems from a partnership with Microsoft and its Azure AI Speech tool, allowing the generation of realistic AI voices that accurately mimic users’ speech patterns and tone.

“This groundbreaking capability not only adds a touch of familiarity and comfort for the users but also showcases the power of AI in transforming the way we interact with our digital assistants,” explained Truecaller product director and general manager Raphael Mimoun in a recent blog post.

The AI Assistant in Truecaller screens incoming calls, informing recipients of a caller’s purpose. Based on this information, users can decide whether to answer the call themselves or let the AI Assistant handle it.

When the feature was introduced in 2022, users could only choose from a collection of preset voices. The ability to record one’s own voice represents a significant step towards the complete personalization of the service.

Also Read: Getting Started With Google Gemini: A Beginner’s Guide

Azure AI Speech, showcased during the last Build conference, only recently added a personal voice feature that lets people record and replicate voices. Microsoft explained in a blog post, however, that Personal Voice is available on a limited basis and only for specific use cases like voice assistants.

To maintain ethical standards, Microsoft’s Azure AI Speech automatically adds watermarks to AI-generated voices. Additionally, a code of conduct requires companies to obtain full consent from individuals being recorded and prohibits impersonation.

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