Astra Tech launches AI store in Abu Dhabi


Consumer technology holding group Astra Tech has launched its first fully autonomous store in Abu Dhabi’s Sky Tower.

Through ‘B Store’, Astra Tech aims to transform the shopping experience in the UAE through faster payment processing and fewer hassles.

The store enables shoppers to pay for their purchases by using their faces.

Integrating facial recognition technology for customer payments in an autonomous store is a unique offering, said Astra Tech in a statement.

Autonomous e-commerce director at Astra Tech, Valeriya Thores, said: “We are thrilled to introduce the first-ever B Store and redefine the future of retail. 

“This innovative integration of facial recognition technology revolutionises the way we shop and showcases our commitment to providing unparalleled convenience and security. Step into the future of retail with B Store, where your face becomes your ultimate payment method. Our vision has always been to simplify the every day for our customers, and this is another step in that direction.”

How it works

When approaching the entry gates, the customer is greeted with an ELO screen displaying a message: “Tap or Scan to Enter”.

Customers can choose to pay either using the POS machine by tapping their card or using Payby’s FacePay feature.

For card payments, customers proceed to tap the POS machine with their card, while for FacePay, they move to the FacePay machine and proceed to look at it.

Once the payment is completed, the ELO screen will initiate a question about their receipt.

Upon leaving, customers receive a text message on the provided phone number that says their receipt is being processed. A subsequent message contains a hyperlink, allowing customers to click and view their receipt.

It was back in January that Astra Tech was granted a license by the Central Bank of the UAE to conduct Stored Value Facility and Retail Payment Services operations.

In January, the fintech company acquired Botim, a Voice over Internet Protocol solution for the Mena region to relaunch into an ‘ultra app.’

Abu Dhabi’s G42 has led a $500m fundraising effort to support the relaunch.

The acquisition gives Astra Tech an advantage as it plans to expand beyond super apps and build an ultra app with Botim.