US financial services corporation Mastercard has been named as the official payments technology partner of Expo 2020 Dubai with the aim of creating a 'seamless' experience for visitors, the company and Expo officials said on Wednesday.
The announcement - which came during Mastercard's Connecting Tomorrow event in Barcelona - was made by Girish Nanda, Mastercard's general manager for the UAE and Oman, along with Mohammed Al Hashmi, Expo 2020 Dubai's senior vice president for innovation and future technologies and Expo senior vice president Gillian Hamburger, who is responsible for partnerships, licensing and retail for the event.
Nanda said the ultimate aim is to create "a cashless payments experience which is seamless, which is simple, and which is safe, so that the visitor can focus on and enjoy the Expo".
"Our own research shows that users are looking for new ways to pay. They're optimistic about digital payments. They want the flexibility to pay with any device," he added. "But equally important is the safety and security of personal information."
Nanda said that as part of its partnership with Expo, Mastercard will be deploying technologies including augmented and virtual reality and face and fingerprint recognition, as well as wearable and contactless payment solutions and voice shopping.
Al Hashmi said that the partnership with Mastercard forms part of a larger effort to provide personalised experiences to the 25 million visitors expected at the event, an estimated 70% of whom are anticipated to come from outside the UAE.
"We are talking about what visitor expect to see there, physically and before even arriving," he said. "We are talking about digital enablement, from the time a visitor wants to know more about Expo - what it is, how would he be able to get there, purchase a ticket, arrive in Dubai...book a hotel, transportation, knowing how to get into Expo, getting inside, finding his way around, what could be the interesting [pavilions] to visit, what to purchase, what to eat."
"We need to personalise this," he added. "We need to have those technologies that not only guide them, but actually suggest what to do next...it has to be that seamless."