In a push to convince banks that using their products will help them reduce operating costs and improve performance, specialists said information technology companies encouraged banks to raise their level of investment in IT during this week's Financial Technology Summit in Abu Dhabi.
The summit, which ran from April 10th-11th, focused on the role of technology as a key component in the Arab banking industry. It attracted leading industry experts from financial institutions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, and the UAE, as well as leading international technology providers.
The UAE comes after Saudi Arabia in terms of IT spending in the region, as the IT market in the UAE is growing by 30% each year.
However, the level of IT spending by UAE banks is low, said Khaled Eid, managing director of World Development Forum which organised the summit. He underscored the importance of raising that amount in order to keep up with the regional banking industry.
Eid called on banks to invest in innovation by using advanced technology that gives banks added value.
"Most bank transactions are now electronic, thus motivating more improvements through working with international companies that are specialised in this area," he said.
Emerging Technologies, the local partner of leading communications company Nuance Communication, Inc., recently "signed a contract with the Ministry of Health in the UAE to adopt a system that will allow doctors to transfer audio commands into written text. This will reduce time allocated for each patient and reinforce the efficiency of operating hospitals," Peter Aziz, a marketing communications specialist with the company, told Al-Shorfa.
His company has also launched a new voice recognition application for banks which allows the bank's electronic system to recognise its customers' voices before proceeding with phone banking.
"It might seem that it would make it easier to break into the system if someone could imitate your voice, but the opposite is true," Aziz said. "The system would not work if the voice print of the customer changed, in which case they would be transferred to the manual system that would require a pin number."
"Several local banks in the UAE have launched new systems to protect their clients' accounts and credit cards from fraud since these new systems detect irrational transactions made by clients," said Hisham Malik, sales director at CA-MENA (Middle East and North Africa).
"If a client's credit card is used in more than one location in the world at the same time or in close intervals, this would be considered irrational usage and the system will alert bank staff who in turn would monitor the process and directly contact the client to confirm the accuracy of their bank transactions and that they were not victims of fraud," he said.