Starbucks partnering with Microsoft in blockchain experiment for greater customer experience

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Starbucks is experimenting with blockchain technologies alongside other initiatives to try and increase customers by creating a more personal and seamless experience in its stores.

At the recently held Microsoft Build 2019 conference, CEO Satya Nadella presented a demo on how Starbucks is using new technologies to deliver its signature customer experience. In order to offer more personalised experience for customers who use the Starbucks mobile app, the coffeehouse chain is using reinforcement learning technology that learns to make decisions in unpredictable environments based upon external feedback.

Customers receive custom-make order recommendations through the reinforcement learning platform –developed and hosted in Microsoft Azure – which helps them by suggesting based on local store inventory, popular selections, weather, and time of day, community preferences and previous orders.

The primary focus here is to bring greater financial possibilities for coffee farmers and allow the customers track their coffee back to its source. This is said to be an ideal use case for Ethereum due to its transparent multiple individual nodes that verify transactions. Every involved party can freely track every single transaction made on Ethereum through Etherscan.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, said: “Over the next two years, we will look to demonstrate how technology and innovative data platforms can give coffee farmers even more financial empowerment. We’ll leverage an open-source approach to share what we learn with the rest of the world. Starbucks is actively strengthening its brand by helping farmers get a fairer share of their work and also making the crypto community like the brand more.”

Last month, the Indian Commerce Ministry launched a blockchain based coffee e-marketplace app that conducts transparent coffee trade in the country. The app is believed to bring a positive transformation among consumers who look for real Indian coffee, as well as the grower who would be paid fairly for the coffee produced.

Interested in hearing more in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

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