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Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks has recently begun a strategic partnership with tech giant Microsoft. The partnership will revolve around a blockchain solution for Starbucks to enhance its bean-to-cup and predictive drive-thru ordering initiative.
Starbucks will utilize Microsoft Azure’s blockchain arm called Azure Blockchain Service in combination with other artificial intelligence and internet of things offerings to advance its predictive drive-thru ordering and other such initiatives. Starbucks is also planning to expand its technological reach to become an innovation leader in the field.
At Microsoft’s Build Developers Conference in Seattle on May 6, the two companies announced various initiatives they are working on together. In cooperation with Microsoft, Starbucks is aiming to deploy blockchain along with machine learning and AI to ‘to gather customer preferences, to connecting coffeemakers in stores to the internet to blockchain services for tracing coffee.’
Microsoft announced on May 2nd on their blockchain specific cloud computing platform called Azure blockchain service and has already welcomed Quorum, JP Morgan’s in-house developed blockchain, on their cloud platform. The newly developed platform allows the enterprise businesses to integrate blockchain and deploy its decentralized applications on the cloud.
Applauding the collaboration between Starbucks’ software engineers and Microsoft’s Azure arm, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to Starbucks ‘as one of many examples of a consistent theme: increased hiring of software engineers at companies outside the industry that are embracing high tech solutions.’
Nadella further added:
“They are coming together to completely take what is that iconic experience that is Starbucks and incorporating digital throughout.”
Talking about Starbucks’s bean-to-cup, it was started back in 2018 as a pilot project aiming to build a blockchain powered coffee tracking system. The idea is to connect the coffee farmers (380,000 coffee bean farms) with coffee drinkers that will allow the customers to trace ‘the journey of their coffee from the farm where the beans originate all the way to their cup’ using the Starbucks mobile app.
With predictive drive-thru ordering, Starbucks is already offering plenty of recommendations-based order history. Starbucks is looking forward to advancing its drive-thru by incorporating the blockchain and digital boards that will make order recommendations. It will also get the necessary information from the store’s transaction histories and more than 400 other store-level criteria, such as inventory, time of day and weather. They may also add face recognition in the future.
With the help of Microsoft, the company is planning to boost its predictive drive-thru and bean-to-cup initiatives to another level.