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Aboitiz group turns to data science, AI for faster business growth

THE ABOITIZ group is embracing digital technology — using data science and artificial intelligence — to accelerate the productivity of its business units in the banking, power, food, infrastructure and real estate sectors.

“Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI) are transformative capabilities that will accelerate the Aboitiz Group’s productivity, drive business value, and open up new revenue streams,” said Sabin M. Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., in a press release on Monday.

The group said data science and artificial intelligence would become a permanent aspect in its strategic business units. It said it had created working groups focusing on data governance, data science and innovation in its units. It added that it had reorganized its DSAI talents across the conglomerate.

David R. Hardoon, UnionBank of the Philippines senior advisor for data and AI and the group’s data committee chairman, said that DSAI allowed the business units to flourish digitally.

“Our focus within the Group is to innovate and systematically operationalize DSAI benefits for all BUs (business units) in areas such as customer engagement, operations and in materializing ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) goals,” Mr. Hardoon was quoted as saying.

UnionBank, the Aboitiz group’s banking unit, has been focusing on data-driven solutions with its digital banking platform and its Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Institute, which was launched two years ago.

The group said that DSAI would also play an important role in driving its power unit Aboitiz Power Corp.’s 10-year growth strategy.

“DSAI will be a key component of AboitizPower’s 1AP Digital Strategy, called DigitaLeap, which aims to implement several initiatives as part of its digital transformation. These include remote plant operations, convergence of information and operational technologies, next-generation energy trading capabilities, and advanced metering infrastructure, among others,” the group said.

It added that its food group built a tool called Analytics Central to help in accessing data-driven solutions and ensuring data security. The current applications that can be accessed in the tool are Pilmico Foods Corp.’s retail meat shop, the food group’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health pass, and budget presentation for meetings, among others.

The Aboitiz group also said that its real estate unit AboitizLand, Inc. was using DSAI in launching its contactless homebuying campaign at the onset of the pandemic, marking its pivot into the digital sphere.

Meanwhile, its cement manufacturing unit Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc. has partnered with UnionBank to create a tool that predicts cement quality based on historical chemical concentration combinations.

The Aboitiz group is one of the business groups that committed to donate additional vaccine doses for the second wave of the tripartite initiative among the private sector, the government and UK-based AstraZeneca plc. The goal of the initiative “A Dose of Hope” is to inoculate as much as 70 million Filipinos this year.

Shares in Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the public holding company of the group, improved 2.51% or P1 to close at P40.80 each on Monday. — Angelica Y. Yang

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