Dassault Systèmes' product lifecycle management director for Australia and New Zealand Christian Ebel spoke to ZDNet about what travel tech he needs, why he wouldn't mind being stranded at Changi airport in Singapore, and the time when he almost died while cycling through Mongolia.
Dassault Systèmes deals with 3D design software, 3D digital mock-ups, and product lifecycle management offerings. It has over 150,000 customers globally.
What tech do you travel with and why?
I always have a laptop to work with, a mobile phone to remain reachable, and an electrical adapter to power the two. When travelling interstate, I usually take a GPS to make driving easier. As I don't mind travelling light, I don't tend to take much with me.
What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?
There are two classic ones. The first one is email access. Accessing emails while travelling is a great way not to become a bottleneck to the business. It also avoids spending hours going through emails when back in the office.
The second one is the usual Google Maps or GPS on smartphones. It removes the need to find a map, get lost, and waste time.
What's your personal travel advice or tip?
When travelling overseas for more than a week, I usually get a local mobile phone. It avoids large roaming charges and shocking mobile phone bills upon return to Australia. The team at work now does the same.
How do you deal with jet lag?
Being enthusiastic and seizing the opportunities which travelling offers is a good way not to be jet-lagged. Being outside and exercising helps as well; the more fresh air you get, the less jet lag. An evening run or a morning walk is also a good way to discover places from another angle, and see what is usually missed when staying in hotels, meeting rooms, and restaurants.
What was your biggest travel disaster?
For many years, I cycled by myself through several countries while on vacation. The worst disaster was probably cycling through Mongolia, catching a lung infection, struggling to stay alive, and ending up spending two weeks in hospital once back home. It was a very intense and enriching experience, but also one not to be repeated!
More recently, I also enjoyed going back to Europe for Christmas, but had all my luggage lost by the airline. I ended up wearing a thin jumper while it was minus-5 degrees Celsius outside, and had no gifts for my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews. I happily found these back at Sydney airport two weeks later.
Is there one thing you must do before you leave home?
Kissing my wife is top priority if we are not travelling together. If we are, it's all about domestics — checking the gas is turned off and bills are paid!
What is your dream travel tech to have on planes, in airports, or at hotels? (Stuff they don't have yet, but boy it would make life so much easier on the road.)
Continuous Wi-Fi coverage from airport to airport. When this happens, the rare parenthesis in life that air travel offers, where time is almost suspended, will have disappeared!
Which airport would you prefer to be stranded at and why?
Having been stranded once in a military airport in Russia, I would choose Changi airport in Singapore. The outdoor cactus garden makes you feel completely divorced from the airport terminal. The temperature difference between the garden and the inside is also a good way to wake up and be ready for the next leg of your journey.