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/ The Aboitiz Group’s innovation journey

The Aboitiz Group’s innovation journey

The Aboitiz Group

MANILA, Philippines — The world has certainly transformed by leaps and bounds, thanks to technology and innovation.

In retrospect, it is being creative and imaginative—building on the old, while embracing the new—that enable institutions to become future-ready.

Amid its transformation to becoming the country’s first "techglomerate," the Aboitiz Group is leveraging its decades-long experience and adapting to new agile processes and technologies.

A big part of its vision of establishing a sustainable enterprise that generates long-term equitable value is its energy arm’s 10-year renewable energy growth strategy.

AboitizPower is harnessing new technological advancements and industry trends that can help expedite the realization of its strategy to strike a 50:50 balance between thermal and renewable portfolios by 2030.

Last January, it held a groundbreaking ceremony for its 17-megawatt (MW) binary geothermal project in Tiwi, Albay. This July, the operation of its 94 MW peak Cayanga-Bugallon solar power project in Pangasinan is expected to be completed.

Meanwhile, the financial close of its 90 MW Libmanan onshore wind project in Camarines Sur will be finished by the end of the year.

At the same time, the power company is transforming its substations in Cebu and Davao to become fully digital, creating a stronger and efficient network security.

AboitizPower is also the first power company in the country to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to help analyze data from its power plants and, in the process, predict and avoid breakdowns and optimize planned shutdowns.

There are many other initiatives including the use of green transformers to replace old units that use mineral oil, the upcycling of ash and plastic waste into bricks and the adoption of science-based approaches in responding to community disasters and climate change.

The Aboitiz Group has also taken advantage of the advancements in digitalization to significantly improve its banking services and operations via its banking arm UnionBank.

This is evidenced by the Asset Triple A’s recognition of it being this year’s Digital Bank of the Year. This makes UnionBank the first and only Philippine bank to receive the award six years in a row.

One of UnionBank’s biggest projects is the game-changing UB Innovation Campus, the first smart campus for a financial institution in the Asia Pacific region, powered by Huawei Technologies.

The UnionBank Innovation Campus is a first in the Philippine banking industry. UnionBank institutes on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, as well as its digital bank EON in one roof.

No less than President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. led its inauguration in September last year.

“The track record of UnionBank in creating opportunities through innovation and digital solutions in the banking sector is uncontested," President Marcos, Jr. said.

Indeed, UnionBank’s vision has always been to be the pioneer in digital banking by making banking services more accessible, especially for rural communities.

As proof of this, UnionBank is linked to major e-wallets and e-commerce wallets in the country, making it quicker for end users to top up or deposit to their daily e-wallets in any amount.

This is also being explored throughout other non-banking industries, such as insurtech, digital lending and alternative financing.

UnionBank is also spearheading changes in the banking landscape through co-creation and transformation of financial services and creating new experiences by leveraging both innovative and disruptive technology to meet rapidly changing customer demands and expectations.

These enable the Bank to tap new markets and create new business models by building on the Bank’s early adoption of emerging technologies, such as Application Programming Interface (API), Blockchain and Metaverse.

In all, UnionBank registered 2.214 million new digital customers as of Nov. 30, 2022, bringing the Bank’s total digital customers to about 5.839 million as of Q4 2022.

Of the 5.839 million, 28.36% or more than 1.6 million customers opened their account in a purely digital manner via the UB Online App.

Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI) is advancing an over-a-century-old company’s technological transformation journey by operationalizing data science and AI across the Aboitiz Group’s business units.

Aboitiz Data Innovation Head of Solutions Architecture Josh Bosiños (center) with ADI data scientists.

Aside from banking and power, the Aboitiz Group's pivot towards innovation is backed and accelerated by its Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI) arm, Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI).

ADI continues to operationalize solutions anchored on DSAI to improve all aspects of the Group’s operations.

For instance, the Data Science and AI team developed and deployed an AI-powered model to help measure a Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) alert’s risk of becoming an invalid alert (false positive) and therefore allows the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) operations team of UnionBank to prioritize their manual investigations.

The solution resulted in up to 40% decrease in the number of alerts which eventually led to a reduction in man-hours for manual investigation, while concurrently achieving very high confidence in detecting valid alerts.

ADI is likewise working closely with AboitizPower with the goal of reducing emissions from thermal plants, improving reliability across the grid, and developing insights into electricity markets.

Indeed, the Aboitiz Group has fully embraced innovation and it is evident across its different business units.

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The Aboitiz Group
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