Unilever is taking a step forward in its corporate strategy by opening its first global artificial intelligence (AI) lab, Horizon3 Labs, in Toronto. The lab’s focus will be on accelerating the use of AI in 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 of data, resulting in various benefits such as supporting recommendation engines and collaborative applications. Horizon3 Labs will work on generating insights for trends, patterns, and predictions. Unilever has identified 15 core areas of focus for AI, with more than 400 applications already in use.
One example of the use of AI by Unilever is the application of generative AI in customer service and marketing. Another is the use of advanced analytics and machine learning in supply chain and logistics. Unilever has reported sales increases of up to 35% for retailers due to the use of AI in ice cream freezers to help manage inventory and place orders.
Horizon3 Labs will operate on a “hybrid” model that includes academic researchers and startup leaders, with the work being incorporated across Unilever’s global business. The decision to establish the lab in Toronto was made to provide access to top tech talent and business partners. The lab represents a significant investment by Unilever in developing and deploying AI technology across the business with the aim of driving technology innovation.