PayPal Hints at Coming ‘Conversational Commerce’

PayPal may be looking into voice recognition to enable more digital commerce use cases in the near future, if a new post-MWC blog post offers any hints.

money-transfer-iconLooking back on last week’s event — for which we featured extensive firsthand coverage — PayPal Head of Global Initiatives Anuj Nayar notes two dominant trends. One is the Internet of Things, including new connected car technologies like PayPal’s new car commerce feature with Shell and Jaguar (and Apple). The other, as Nayar puts it, is “conversational commerce.”

Looking at emerging digital commerce opportunities in areas like virtual reality, connected appliances, and even drones, Nayar asserts that it “won’t be convenient or realistic to pull out a credit card or punch in your information in any of these scenarios”. Instead, he says, applications will need to find news ways to identify users passively. And Nayar says that we are already “seeing the beginnings of this with voice commands and devices like Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri, Google Home and Microsoft Cortana”.

Nayar stops far short of suggesting that voice recognition will become the key modality of transaction authentication for PayPal in the future, but his comments certainly suggest that the company is investigating the technology intensively. And given that it’s already shaping up to be the dominant user interface for the IoT, with the likes of Apple and Amazon investing in the technology for their smart home assistants, it’s probably a good base to cover.