Starbucks is now more than just a coffee chain as it uses an assortment of technological advancements to deliver personalized experiences to its nearly 100 million customers per week. Microsoft announced on May 6 via a blog post that it is partnering with Starbucks on a number of tech solutions ranging from blockchain to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella used the 2019 Microsoft Build Conference to show how the coffee firm uses new technologies to deliver a better and more personalized customer experience.
Breaking Down the Microsoft-Starbucks Partnership
According to the press statement, the latest partnership boils down to three main initiatives – using blockchain to track coffee’s journey from the farm to the customer’s cup, using smart machines to collect data points for every coffee order, and expanding predictive technology to the drive-through experience.
In using the blockchain, the coffee chain wants to connect the farmers who grow the coffee with those who drink it. The company is adding a new feature to its existing app that will record a lot of information such as the origin of the coffee, where it was packaged, the steps taken by Starbucks to support the coffee farmers, when it was roasted, and more.
This is a very important development for Starbucks because of its commitment to ethical sourcing, said the statement. The blockchain solution allows customers to know where their coffee comes from and gives the farmers the opportunity to know where their beans are destined to.
The Microsoft Azure Blockchain Service will be used to track the journey of the coffee from the farm to the cup. Each stage in the life of the coffee beans will be recorded on a shared and immutable ledger that will provide “all parties a more complete view of their products’ journey.”
“We’re forging new ground here, so we’re excited to report more in the coming months,” said coffee chain’s senior vice president of global coffee and tea Michelle Burns.
Starbucks uses several pieces of equipment, and any glitch in any of those machines can potentially affect service delivery flow. The firm has partnered with Microsoft to “securely connect devices in the cloud” and minimize disruptions.
Microsoft’s Azure Sphere will be used to allow IoT-enabled machines to collect data points for every coffee cup prepared. The purpose of the new feature, according to the press release:
“Is to shift from reactive maintenance to a predictive approach that heads off issues before they happen.”
Starbucks users will soon be able to receive personalized recommendations in drive-throughs and on the mobile app.
Starbucks’ Foray Into the Crypto Sector
This is not the first time that the largest coffee chain in the U.S. has ventured into the crypto world. It was reported in August last year that Starbucks had entered into a new partnership with Microsoft and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on a new digital platform Bakkt, to allow consumers to use Bitcoin and other digital assets to purchase their coffee.
The fact that Starbucks takes cryptocurrencies seriously is a major breakthrough for the industry and will play a significant role in Bitcoin’s adoption as a currency.
“Starbucks is seeing some kind of demand for acceptance of crypto and bitcoin, and to tie up with a huge regulated institution like the ICE is really positive for the space,” said BKCM founder and CEO Brian Kelly.