Dubai – MENA Herald: MasterCard today unveiled the first commerce application for SoftBank Robotics’ humanoid robot Pepper. The application will be powered by MasterPass, the global digital payment service from MasterCard that connects consumers with merchants, enabling them to make fast, simple, and secure digital payments across channels and devices. Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia P/L will be the inaugural launch partner working together with MasterCard to create innovative customer engagement with Pepper.

A major first step forward in bringing conversational commerce experiences to merchants and consumers, this new app extends the robot’s ability to integrate customer service, access to information and sales into a seamless and consistent user experience. Pizza Hut Asia will be piloting Pepper for order-taking and personalized engagement to enhance customer service in-store by end of 2016.

“Consumers have come to expect personalized service, customized offers and simple and seamless processes both in-store and online,” said Tobias Puehse, vice president, innovation management, Digital Payments & Labs at MasterCard. “The app’s goal is to provide consumers with more memorable and personalized shopping experience beyond today’s self-serve machines and kiosks, by combining Pepper’s intelligence with a secure digital payment experience via MasterPass.”

A consumer will be able to initiate an engagement by simply greeting Pepper and pairing the consumer’s MasterPass account by either tapping the Pepper icon within the wallet or by scanning a QR code on the tablet that the robot holds. After pairing with MasterPass, Pepper will be able to assist cardholders by providing personalized recommendations and offers, additional information on products, and assistance in checking out and paying for items. Pepper will be able to initiate, approve and complete a transaction by connecting to MasterPass via a Wi-Fi connection and the entire transaction happens within the wallet.

“We are excited to welcome Pepper to the Pizza Hut family,” said Vipul Chawla, Managing Director of Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia. “Core to our digital transformation journey is the ability to make it easier for customers to engage, connect and transact with Pizza Hut. With an order-and-payment-enabled Pepper, customers can now come to expect personalized ordering at our stores, reduce wait time for carryout, and have a fun, frictionless user experience.”

The app was built by the MasterCard Labs team in Singapore, one of the company’s eight research and development centers across the globe. The Pepper application adds to ongoing MasterCard programs that bring payments to any consumer gadget, accessory or wearable– from fitness bands to refrigerators and now robots. The integration with Pepper has the potential to open up opportunities in the world of retail such as personalized shopping and concierge services, in-aisle checkout and the ability to buy in store but get the goods delivered at home. The same capability would also be applicable to other consumer engagement locations such as hotels, banks, airports, and other customer service industries.

The app is being showcased at the Pepper Partners Europe event hosted by SoftBank Robotics Europe (a SoftBank Robotics Holdings group company) in Paris from May 24 – 26, 2016.