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New Batch Of Google Cloud Partnerships Formed With McDonald’s And NCS Group

December 15, 2023 No Comments

by Alex Farwell

Google Cloud Platform is one of the tech giant’s fastest-growing B2B services, as businesses wake up to the benefits of cloud and edge solutions. Two new clients have joined the platform’s client list. These are IT multinational NCS Group and a more surprising addition – fast-food pioneer McDonald’s.

The Digital Transformation

While NCS’s partnership didn’t turn many heads, Google’s work with McDonald’s serves as a reminder that companies of all kinds are going digital. Given their physical limitations, fast-food services like McDonald’s are late to a trend that has seen entertainment move largely online. In-house services like Netflix , for example, rely on the internet and a hefty network of AWS cloud services. Other industries exist entirely online, such as iGaming. Alongside physical casinos, a sister industry has formed online where users can play real cash slot games from a selection of hundreds, on-demand. Streaming, iGaming and the e-commerce boom have shown that people are increasingly affiliating with digital services.

There’s no reason that this relationship can’t be inverted, however. For businesses like McDonald’s that cannot convert hamburgers to pixels, there are still meaningful ways that modern cloud and AI innovations can make business easier. The NCS partnership can help businesses facilitate a digital transformation. Many of NCS’ clients rely on them for end-to-end IT services, and the new Google Cloud collaboration is intended to create a bridge between NCS clients and cloud/AI integration.

McDonald’s Eyes Cloud Computing

Having revealed a multi-year global partnership with Google Cloud, McDonald’s has committed to a long-term digital upgrade that will focus on generative AI and cloud-based software. While backend upgrades to the company’s mobile app are on the cards, further-reaching developments have been mentioned as part of their deal.

Firstly, edge integration is planned to support self-service kiosks in their thousands of restaurants worldwide. This will be done using Google Distributed Cloud, using cloud software that bolsters on-site data storage and management. For example, the fast-food giant cites that edge capabilities will allow individual stores to measure equipment performance. Instead of relying on lumbering, disruptive oversight, edge will bring data closer to franchises.

In their press release, McDonald’s Executive VP Brian Rice explained that “connecting our restaurants worldwide to millions of datapoints across our digital ecosystem means tools get sharper, models get smarter, restaurants become easier to operate.” As one of Google Cloud’s more famous business clients, a dedicated team of cloud engineers will be seated at its global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: Unsplash

Google Brings Generative AI To McDonald’s

While McDonald’s focuses on becoming more agile thanks to Google’s cloud and edge systems, they are also introducing generative AI into their restaurants. Google is tipped to help roll out a chatbot that will be implemented in-store.

This new gen AI worker is called Ask Pickles, a virtual assistant who will be trained on company manuals as any other employee would be. It will also crunch the numbers from the aforementioned equipment data harvested by Google’s cloud services. As a chatbot, it can present that information in simple, actionable terms.

Employees can also ask it questions on the fly, where it will be trained to provide the best and most productive answers. This comes after Google unveiled Gemini, a Bard chatbot upgrade that turns it into the most advanced AI model so far. While Ask Pickles certainly won’t have Gemini’s free-form, multimodal functionality, Google’s newfound dominance in AI engineering shows that McDonald’s is in good hands.

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