Oleg Burak’s life could have gone a completely different way: eleven years of enhanced French studying in a specialized school seemed to precondition his career choice either in foreign affairs or in translating. However, he chose to follow his heart and entered Minsk Radiotechnical Institute where he got a degree in Engineering. At that time, though, no one would have expected this choice to be of such importance for Kapsch and its products: several of Oleg and his team’s Electronic Toll Collection improvement suggestions have already been put into practice ...
In 2013, the company was developing the Electronic Toll Collection System and Oleg and his team noticed some vibrations in gantries where cameras were located. They had no chance to notice those vibrations earlier since the test system was a little smaller in configuration, thus, the vibrations became evident only after the system launch. They had to find a way to stabilize the cameras in those gantries. That was Oleg’s first problem solution experience and it turned out to be successful. Today his solution is applied in similar road infrastructure delivered by Kapsch.
After a while Oleg and his team encountered another challenge: metallized windscreens of some vehicles interfered with the performance of on-board units. At the same time it is difficult for both the vehicle owner and the service point staff to determine whether the windscreen is metallized or not. Oleg was inspired by a Taiwan system and with his colleagues’ support and his own engineering experience, he managed to develop and produce a prototype of a device that offers an easy and reliable way to detect the metallized and non-metallized areas of windscreens. They produced a number of those devices in accordance with the developed technical documentation and now they are used at service points and assist the staff working there in their everyday work. The Kapsch TrafficCom colleagues in Vienna took a great interest in this solution and placed an order for manufacturing 10,000 of such devices.
Finally, Oleg managed to solve another completely unexpected problem – camera sensors icing. Some may know the way the typical Belarusian winter starts: the temperature is a little bit below zero, wet snow, strong wind. Such weather conditions result in ice covering that interferes with the normal performance of the system. Oleg and his team wanted to come up with a solution that would enable remote warming up of such iced devices. And they did it! They developed heaters that were installed on 33 gantries of the pilot zone last winter.
Desire to improve the world around me, curiosity (you cannot improve or renovate anything until you realize how it actually works) and willingness to achieve the best result possible. I’m usually prompted to do something by a desire to fix or to improve rather than to create something new. That was the case with the solutions to improve the existing ETC-System – when you want it to perform better your brain immediately starts searching for ideas and solutions. Perhaps, it’s a simple drive for harmony!
I want to make the world around a little bit better, less problematic and more comfortable for me and all the people around. Moreover, I want the system we build and maintain to be as user-friendly as possible.
My engineering mind never stops! I like to travel by car with my family – my wife and son. These trips give me new ideas on further Belarusian toll collection system improvement. For instance, the Vienna tube inspired me to develop a multilingual self-service system for on-board units balance refill and check. This project is now being developed further in our company.
Besides, my seven-year-old son seems to have inherited the family interest in technologies. One of our favorite activities is to construct some simple but fully operational devices like an FM receiver from a radio construction set. Despite his young age, he is really interested in programming and robotics and is already making progress. He has already created an application for his mother – she works as a therapist – which helps to calculate the body mass ratio. Now she uses it in her everyday work. We spend a lot of time with my son exploring how things work. So there is someone to continue the family tradition!
I am a very lucky man, as my job is my hobby I am being paid for. Despite the fact that I am a manager, I am still an engineer by nature and I like solving various technical puzzles. Moreover, we find it very inspiring and motivating when we face an unusual challenge and there is an opportunity to involve the whole team of technical specialists. Even though we are a subsidiary while the major research and development takes place in the headquarters, the Belarusian inquisitive mind has enough space for further improvement of those R&D solutions, which we have already done a number of times.
Indeed, five years ago, I signed my employment agreement, and that was a perfect start of a new job. At that time, in May 2012, the office looked completely different – bare walls and nothing else, no communication, no phones, no computers… We started from scratch and developed the infrastructure first. If you compare the company then and now, it goes without saying that it has changed immensely. But I see our main achievement in real, tangible results of our work: Belarusian roads are equipped with a modern toll collection system which is efficient for the customer, user-friendly for our drivers and relevant to our local economy.
When Georg Kapsch visited Minsk and we had a meeting with him, I said that it was a great honour for me to work with this company. And that was absolutely true. It is an amazing feeling to realize that you are a part of the 125-year history that includes almost all major technical innovations. It is also flattering that I can contribute to this splendid history.