Technology and big ideas are shaping Alberta’s future

In-house innovations and tech sector partnerships are two ways ATB is powering possibilities

By ATB Financial 30 November 2022 4 min read

These days, technology impacts almost every aspect of our daily lives in some way. From food to finance, emerging innovations continue to make our lives easier, safer and more convenient.

Each small increment of efficiency adds up, freeing up time in our days that we can use for more meaningful activities—ones that require or deserve the attention of a human mind to consider and solve.
When it comes to banking, technology plays an ever-increasing role in ATB’s client interactions.

“We're always trying to find different ways to not only understand what our clients need, but also what they value and what they expect from us,” says John Tarnowski, Chief Client Experience & Technology Officer at ATB Financial.
He points to technology as a great enabler for shaping client experiences and empowering ATB team members to provide support.

With that in mind, ATB is exploring, innovating and investing in technology that will contribute to the successful future of the province and the well-being of all Albertans.

Industry-Leading Innovations

ATB Ventures: Oliu & Proof

ATB Ventures is the innovation lab at ATB Financial, tasked with pursuing and considering emerging technology that has the potential to improve the client experience. New technology is explored and tested to determine whether it meets the criteria of technology enablement.

“We live at a time when technology is accelerating at an exceptional rate, changing how we live and relate to the world around us,” says Sue McGill, Head of ATB Ventures. “For forward-thinking Albertans, technology can enable us to reshape our future in ways we’ve only imagined.”
Oliu is one of Ventures’ latest developments. A self-sovereign identity platform, Oliu includes a suite of products that can be used to verify and authenticate someone’s digital identity, without compromising that individual’s privacy and data ownership. Oliu is secured with blockchain technology, and user credentials can be stored in a Proof digital wallet.
Oliu 2.0 launched in September 2022 after a year of pilot programs at select organizations.


Humans of 2030+

Humans of 2030+ is a foresight tool that examines how wellness aspects shape a person’s response to change and innovation. It was developed by ATB Ventures to help organizations—such as ATB Financial—anticipate the wants and needs of future customers.

Over 500 Canadians were surveyed to create a psychometric model based on emotional, financial, occupational, physical and social wellness indicators.
ATB is already using the tool to ground their innovation efforts and validate their initial concepts.

“Humans of 2030+ informs every innovative idea we pursue and the products we build,” says McGill. “It also serves as the cornerstone of building digital trust with our users and customers.”


Next Best Conversation

Every ATB client has unique banking needs and behaviours. Next Best Conversation is a personalized recommendation engine that ATB developed using machine learning algorithms. By analyzing over 200 points of behavioural data, the engine can provide advice and banking product recommendations that help each client optimize their finances. Frontline ATB team members can use the recommendations to guide their client interactions.

Tech Programs & Partnerships

Driven by a commitment to powering possibilities in Alberta’s tech industry, ATB is investing in the power of advanced technologies to help our clients reach their goals and help solve Albertans’ greatest challenges. "We're seeing rapid growth in our technology and clean tech sectors," says Tarnowski. "Investment in technology builds a better economy and environment for everyone, and helps position Alberta to thrive."

  • United Way: Student Laptop Donations
    During the first two years of the pandemic, virtual schooling illuminated the need for equitable access to technology at home. ATB partnered with the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region to supply laptops to students. Donations totalling $200,000 in 2021 and 2022 facilitated the purchase and distribution of 836 laptops to students at 54 schools throughout Alberta.
  • Social Progress Imperative & TELUS CSW Accelerator
    ATB commissioned the Social Progress Imperative (SPI) to develop data-driven tools that measure whether people have what they need—from basic needs like food and shelter, to feelings of safety and social equity. Another ATB-supported initiative, the TELUS Community Safety & Wellness Accelerator, which will use data from SPI to help identify challenges that new ventures should prioritize addressing.
  • Start Alberta Tech Awards
    The annual Start Alberta Tech Awards recognize startups for innovative solutions and accomplishments. In 2021 and 2022, ATB sponsored the event’s Impact Award for startups that prioritized corporate social responsibility in areas like diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2021, the recipient was HelpSeeker Technologies, which aims to support industry leaders with data & analytics for transformative social change.
  • University of Alberta: AI Research
    In 2018, ATB contributed $940,000 to the University Alberta, as part of a four-year partnership to support activity in the field of artificial intelligence. The investment enabled students, professors and ATB team members to apply data science and machine learning to issues like entrepreneurial growth, real-time fraud detection and how the technology might enhance the financial well-being of Albertans.

In addition to the tech partnerships in motion, Tarnowski says ATB is always working on enhanced customer experience and the journey to modernize applications and provide more predictive advice continues.

“As we pivot with the ever-changing landscape, we remain focused on putting clients at the centre of everything we do,” says Tarnowski.

Growing a tech business in Alberta?

Here's four tips for tech startups from Start Alberta Tech Award winner PurposeMed.

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