Hello, JKU! The New Professors at the SOWI Faculty
Barbara Krumay is one of the new faces at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Economics & Business.
Professor Barbara Krumay recently became the new head of the Institute for Business Informatics - Information Engineering. We spoke with her about how personal privacy has changed in lieu of working from home due to Covid-19 and what radio station she helped to established.
What is your area of research?
Barbara Krumay: My research focuses on digitization. In short, this means using new digital technologies and studying the impact technologies have on people, organizations and society. I study the way digitization changes companies as well as the way decisions are made and managed in this field, including how companies handle digital technologies and if they use them efficiently, effectively, and responsibly. Part of this is also looking at the resulting effects on the company, the environment (keyword: e-waste) and socio aspects (keyword: technology dependency).
What do you find particularly fascinating about this area?
Barbara Krumay: Technology and how it can be used have always fascinated me. As time goes on, digital technologies are becoming more important in many areas of life, opening up many new doors and opportunities. The fact that there is so much potential in digitization is exciting to me, especially that this technology can be used to the benefit of everyone. The research is interdisciplinary by default as it is conducted at the interface of human interaction, tasks and technology and it ranges from sociology and psychology to mechatronics and robotics. This also means that as part of every research project, I am always learning something new.
Why is this research even necessary, meaning how will it improve our lives?
Barbara Krumay: As digitization rapidly advances, obviously we - as a society - must keep up with the progress. Not everyone can embrace new technologies and companies sometimes have a hard time assessing the developmental direction of digitalization. My research not only shows them the various options digital technologies bring to the table (particularly to support decisions for - or even against - a certain technology), it is also about using research to address their reservations and uncertainties as well as critically question the impact digitalization will have. This is why it's important to me to make research findings more publicly accessible and discuss them on a social level.
Why did you choose to come to the JKU and what makes the JKU special?
Barbara Krumay: In the context of digitization and in lieu of the number of companies located in Upper Austria, the JKU offers a unique constellation and has a long tradition of business informatic topics on an academic and scientific level at the university. There are countless opportunities to work with companies in academically and socially exciting topics. The JKU’s long tradition in the area of business informatics not only offers an outstanding international network, but also provides a solid basis to conduct advanced research. There are few universities that can offer the same, particularly in terms of the interdisciplinary nature and the full range of availability at the JKU.
Why should students take your classes?
Barbara Krumay: The educational content in my classes is cutting-edge, combining basic theoretical concepts with real-world, hands-on applications. My goal is to get the students excited about the subject area as I believe this kind of enthusiasm helps students become more willing to address more complex topics. Even in large courses, I try to create a good personal atmosphere and convey the material in a more application-oriented way.
What are you currently working on?
Barbara Krumay: At the moment, I am heavily involved in three projects. The first project takes a look at how companies can better understand just how digital technologies can provide options and opportunities and how they can be used to the company’s advantage as well as just how a company decides to use a particular technology. Let’s take 3D printing as a brief example and see whether or not a company should consider this kind of technology (i.e., to print spare parts). The second project studies the potential applications of machine learning to optimize processes, resulting in becoming more heavily involved in the field of computer sciences. The third project focuses on the way work has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in terms of personal privacy when working from home. Initial findings show that "personal" and "business" aspects are difficult to separate and video conferencing systems contribute significantly to this.
What are your hobbies?
Barbara Krumay: I am a passionate amateur musician and in addition to playing the saxophone, I support jazz made in and around Austria. I was actively involved in creating a non-profit internet radio station (https://jazz.w3.at) that mainly plays jazz from Austria 24/7.
What else do you want to do or achieve in your life?
Barbara Krumay: That is hard to answer because so many things in life don’t even happen until one seizes opportunities or responds to situations. However, I would like to play a key role in helping people to use technology responsibly and help society as a whole move forward, regardless of location, wealth, or age.