The chat-bot invasion has officially reached Starbucks. The coffee and tea purveyor announced the beta launch of the My Starbucks barista, an AI-based virtual assistant that lets customers place their orders via voice command or messaging interface. Starbucks is also launching a skill for the Amazon Alexa platform that will let customers order via voice command from any Alexa-powered device.
The My Starbucks barista, which was first teased in December during Starbucks’ investor day, is technically an extension of Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay, which in itself is a feature within the Starbucks mobile app.
Starbucks has always been a digital innovation machine compared to other retail and beverage brands, but the company’s tech efforts have focused increasingly on concepts like AI since former Adobe CIO Gerri Martin-Flickinger took over as Starbucks’ chief technology officer in late 2015.