KBC Facilitates Business and Research

The second floor at the Open Space in the OIC (Open Innovation Center) is bustling with activity as when it comes to digital transformation, lab lead Manuel Moser and his enthusiastic team at K-Businesscom (KBC) provide company support. They are a perfect fit at the OIC, supporting sensor technology, IoT platforms, and AI applications.

The KBC Team
The KBC Team

We spoke with Manuel Moser about what they do and KBC’s current projects.

Manuel, you've been at the OIC for a year now. What made you decide to move into the LIT Open Innovation Center and what does being on campus and in close proximity to academic research mean to you?

Manuel Moser: Wow, a year already - time flies! When we heard space was available at the OIC, we realized we needed to strike while the iron was hot as it is the perfect location for us. As a digitalization partner for companies, we serve as intermediaries between companies and research, so to say. Insight into the research being conducted at the OIC give us an opportunity to look into the future on behalf of ourselves and our customers to see what trends are around the corner and how we can actively be a part of it. The Open Space is also ideal in support of creative work and "new work" models. The close proximity to campus and being on-site at the JKU’s "talent factory" are also not entirely without its own merits. In addition to offering internships, undergraduate and graduate theses topics, we also offer part-time jobs to students who wish to work during their studies. This is ideal for students because on campus, they can quickly switch from the workplace to the classroom. We also offer flexible work hours so students can work, but not lose sight of the important things, namely earning a degree.

Do you have any examples of specific projects you've been able to implement through your involvement at the LIT OIC?

Manuel Moser: Despite the pandemic last year, we were able to initiate some activities within the campus community during the fall and winter. We were able to share our experience related to software architecture and user experience with the LIT Cyber Physical System Lab. In addition, we have the privilege of advising a company on campus about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IOT (Internet-of-Things) architectures. An additional highlight is collaborating with tech2B/PIER4, initiated right here at the OIC.
As part of this network, we share ideas with leading Upper Austrian companies and start-up companies in regard to innovation and digitalization. We also meet people from start-up companies at the OIC, such as qapture, so in this regard, we’ve come full circle. We still have a lot of plans at the OIC and we look forward to the future together.

Last year, Kapsch BusinessCom AG was spun off from the Kapsch Group and since then, it has been operating as an independent agency. KBC now has a new company name as Kapsch BusinessCom AG is now K-Businesscom AG. What does the "new start" feel like?

Manuel Moser: This spin-off has sparked a new spirit of optimism for us here at KBC, especially in the area of digitization. As an independent company, we can play better to our strengths and, with around 1,600 employees, we have the power to do just that. Our transition was very smooth and seamless, and as the spin-off company, we hardly noticed the change in our everyday operations.

What do you think makes KBC unique?

Manuel Moser: Definitely a combination of tradition paired a spirit of innovation; this is deeply ingrained in our DNA. Kapsch, and with it KBC, has been around for 130 years. Since the company’s inception, we have been committed to technological innovation; everything from Morse telegraphs, radios (one is in the OIC, by the way), train radios, IT solutions to digitalization. This is unique in Austria and you can sense it daily. Our team in particular is passionate about the subject and "the way we work".

Using IOT, AI, and other software applications, how can KBC platforms help companies embrace digital transformation? Can you share a concrete example?

Manuel Moser: A current, very exciting subject for us is "Automated Production Planning". Although the raw material and component situation is uncertain due to Covid and the war in Ukraine, Austrian industry can hardly save itself from orders at the moment. Our production planning helps companies "maximize" production, but flexibly and while retaining the "human factor". Specifically, this means that complex algorithms and AI help us find ideal production plans that suit the company and its products, but also allows for flexible human intervention and rescheduling at any time. This means that we position the software so it can provide relief as a "digital co-worker" but it does not compete in the workplace. In addition, and in terms of sustainability, the system helps the company cut high energy costs as well as its carbon footprint.

Be honest: Which of your projects is currently your favorite and why?

Manuel Moser: Phew, that's very difficult. One of our most exciting projects at the moment is definitely our "Inhouse Incubator". It is an internal think-tank that gives our employees a new way to come up with ideas from a different perspective. The incubator also helps us respond to our customers’ needs and future market trends even faster. The OIC is a creative space for us; even our Vienna colleagues enjoy coming to the OIC to attend workshops.