Unilever is taking a step forward in its corporate strategy with the opening of its first global artificial intelligence lab, Horizon3 Labs, in Toronto. The lab will focus on accelerating the use of artificial intelligence in various functions, with a special emphasis on predicting and modeling data relationships using graph technology. According to Gary Bogdani, head of data science for North America and Canada at D&A, graph technology can simplify complex data and facilitate visual representation of data, resulting in various benefits such as support for recommendation engines and collaborative applications.
The lab will also work to generate insights for trends, patterns and predictions. Unilever has identified 15 key focus areas for AI, with more than 400 applications already in use. One example is the use of artificial intelligence in ice cream freezers to help with inventory management and ordering, with reported sales increases of up to 35% for retailers. Unilever also uses generative artificial intelligence in customer service and marketing, as well as advanced analytics and machine learning in supply chain and logistics.
Horizon3 Labs will operate on a “hybrid” model involving academic researchers and startup leaders, and the work will be integrated into Unilever’s global business. According to Unilever’s Chief Data Officer, Andy Hill, the decision to establish the lab in Toronto was to provide access to top technology talent and business partners. The laboratory represents a significant investment in the development and application of AI technology in the entire business, with the aim of initiating technological innovations.