Starbucks Using Azure to Track Coffee

| Publish date: 05/07/2019
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Starbucks, the US-based coffee chain is using technology giant Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service to track the production of coffee, among other things. This partnership was announced at Microsoft’s Build Developers’ Conference on May 06, and was listed as a part of a number of initiatives the two companies are working on together.

The initiatives that the two companies are working on together include projects such as utilizing machine learning to collect data on customer preferences to connecting coffee stores to Blockchain services that will be able to track the coffee supply chain.

From Bean to Cup

The initiative to track coffee was announced first in 2018, and was dubbed bean to cup. Starbucks stated that it would be working with farmers in Costa Rica, Rwanda as well as Colombia in order to pilot a Blockchain coffee tracking system.

According to the announcement this new system would let customers track how their coffee is produced and supplied. The coffee chain’s customers will be able to use their Starbucks mobile app to track how the coffee they are drinking has made its was from the farm to their cups.

It would also create possible financial opportunities for coffee farmers by connecting them directly with the end customers.

The coffee chain also stated that the pilot would be an open source program so that the data gathered from it could be disseminated. Starbucks said that it had already worked with more than 380,000 coffee farmers in 2018 on this project.

Other Initiatives

The other initiatives that the two companies said they were teaming up on were predictive drive-thru ordering and connecting coffee makers.

While the Starbucks mobile app already has predictive ordering where customers get recommendations based on their order histories, the coffee chain is now extending that technology to its drive-thru.

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With this new initiative, Starbucks’ drive-thru stores will have digital boards that will give customers recommendations based on their previous orders. However, it will not have the detailed customer history that the store’s mobile app has. Instead, it will rely on transaction histories and other data from its stores to make predictive drive-thru ordering possible.

In the other initiative, called Connected Coffee-Makers, Starbucks is utilizing multiple Azure products to connect as well as secure over a dozen types of IoT (Internet of Things) powered equipment in its more than 30,000 stores to collect data on parameters such as type of beans, water quality, the temperature of a cup of coffee, etc. from cup of coffee made.

By doing so, the company is hoping to be proactive about the maintenance of its equipment, since these machines are critical to the stores’ operations.

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