Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft, Starbucks Team On AI-Powered Predictive Orders

Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks is teaming up with Microsoft on AI-powered projects that will do everything from gathering customer preferences to connecting coffeemakers.

This isn’t the first time the companies have worked together. In fact, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is a former Microsoft executive.

The two companies revealed some of the projects they are working on at Microsoft’s Build developers conference on Monday (May 6). Predictive drive-thru ordering, for example, would give customers recommendations based on order history. While it’s unknown if the AI technology will evolve to include facial recognition software or license plate readers that can be used to recommend a customer’s favorite order, Microsoft did say that customers will eventually be able to agree to more personalized drive-thru recommendations.

Starbucks is also using several Azure cloud products to connect and secure the more than a dozen pieces of equipment in each of its 30,000 stores. The goal is to connect its devices to the cloud, making it easier to keep track of maintenance needs instead of waiting for breakdowns to occur. The machines operate 16 hours a day at high volume, and any mechanical issues can bring store operations to a standstill.

In addition, Microsoft is working with Starbucks on a new blockchain program. The revelation coincides with the tech giant’s announcement earlier this week that it has launched Azure Blockchain Service, which simplifies the formation, management and governance of consortium blockchain networks.

“Azure Blockchain Service deploys a fully-managed consortium network and offers built-in governance for common management tasks such as adding new members, setting permissions and authenticating user applications,” the company explained in a press release at the time.

The companies will use blockchain to connect coffee drinkers with coffee farmers. In addition, customers will be able to use the Starbucks mobile app to trace the journey of their coffee from the farm where the beans originate all the way to their cup.

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