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Starbucks tests voice-activated virtual barista to let customers get their caffeine fix Siri-style

Starbucks has unveiled a Siri-style personal assistant that allows users to order coffee via their iPhones or Amazon's Alexa platform.

The voice-activated 'barista' (as seen in the video above) has been baked into the coffee chain's existing iOS app to make it easier for customers to get their caffeine fix.

For now, the feature is an extension of the brand's My Starbucks service which allows coffee lovers to order and pay before arriving at their store.

Select customers can now order "on command" telling the barista what they want without having to type. A special re-order skill has also been added to Amazon's Alexa assistant to let users request their old favourites before heading out the door.

"The Starbucks experience is built on the personal connection between our barista and customer, so everything we do in our digital ecosystem must reflect that sensibility," said Gerri Martin-Flickinger, chief technology officer for Starbucks.

"These initial releases are easy to use providing a direct benefit to customers within their daily routine and we are confident that this is the right next step in creating convenient moments to complement our more immersive formats. We expect to learn a lot from these experiences and to evolve them over time."

The voice-activated service is currently in beta testing and wil be available to one thousand customers in the US initially, with plans for a continued phased rollout through summer 2017 and an Android version to follow.

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