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Unilever has recently taken a major step forward with the launch of its first global artificial intelligence lab, Horizon3 Labs, in Toronto. The lab will focus 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, the 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.

The lab will also 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 is the use of AI in ice cream freezers to help manage inventory and place orders, with 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, and the work will be incorporated across Unilever’s global business. The decision to establish the lab in Toronto was made by Unilever’s chief data officer Andy Hill to provide access to top tech talent and business partners. The lab represents a significant investment in developing and deploying AI technology across the business, with the aim of driving technology innovation.

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