Unilever is taking a step forward in its corporate strategy with the opening of Horizon3 Labs, its first global artificial intelligence lab, located in Toronto. The lab will focus on accelerating the use of AI across various functions, with a particular emphasis on forecasting and modeling data relationships using graph technology.
According to Gary Bogdani, head of data science for North America and Canada D&A, graph technology can simplify complex data and facilitate visual representations, resulting in benefits such as supporting recommendation engines and collaborative applications. Horizon3 Labs will also generate insights for trends, patterns, and predictions. Unilever has identified 15 core areas of focus for AI, with over 400 applications already in use.
One example is the use of AI in ice cream freezers to manage inventory and place orders, leading to reported sales increases of up to 35% for retailers. Unilever is also using generative AI 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 that includes academic researchers and startup leaders, with work incorporated across Unilever’s global business. According to Unilever’s chief data officer Andy Hill, the decision to establish the lab in Toronto was based on providing access to top tech talent and business partners. This significant investment aims to drive innovation across the business by developing and deploying AI technology.