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Travel tech Q&A: Hitachi Data Systems' Neville Vincent

Hitachi Data Systems CEO in Australia talks about broadband access in hotels, tech items he can't live without while on the go, and his 'converged infrastructure dream.'
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Having been a resident of South Korea in the past, Hitachi Data Systems' CEO in Australia, Neville Vincent, knows the pleasures of having a super-fast internet connection. Internet access has also become an important part of his life when he's travelling abroad.

Hitachi Data Systems' Neville Vincent. (Credit: Hitachi Data Systems)

In this week's Travel Tech Q&A, Vincent talks about broadband access in hotels, tech items he can't live without while on the go, and his “converged infrastructure dream.”

What tech do you travel with and why?

I always travel with my iPad and phone. Once, I was flying from Sydney to Melbourne, and I was working off my laptop, reading a book, and referencing the newspaper.

As you would expect, it got very frustrating trying to read the newspaper and work off many different devices at once. I looked across the aisle from me, where a gentleman was looking all relaxed, sitting legs crossed, working off his iPad.

It was that day that I went out and purchased a tablet myself, and promised to never again try and work on a plane with a book, laptop, notebook, and newspaper, all at the same time.

What tech do you love abroad, where and why?

I used to live in South Korea, and there, your broadband subscription is around 100Mbps to your apartment, AU$30 for all you can eat access. However, in Australia your plan is usually split into an a.m. and p.m. allowance to use throughout the month, and if you go over, it slows to half the download speed or shuts off.

My in-laws are here at the moment from Korea, used to the high-speed unlimited broadband. After a week's visit, my internet data allowance is gone, it's only half way through the month.

What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?

My Life Organised is a great app that really helps me keep on top of everything in life.

Most memorable travel story/experience?

One of my best travel experiences was when I received a double upgrade from premium economy to first class. On the flight home, during the same trip, I got upgraded again to business. When I got to the gate, my ticket was not working, and they just decided to put me in first class.

I slept for 12 hours straight on the plane; now I know why people pay so much to fly first class.

Personal travel advice/tip?

Be prepared. Cover all the angles you can think of, do some research on the area where you are going, and have an idea of what to expect when you get there.

How do you deal with jet lag?

I refuse to take sleeping pills. The best way of getting rid of jet lag, in my opinion, is plenty of exercise and TV.

What was your biggest travel disaster?

Coming back from Aruba and flying with a European airline was a complete disaster. They grounded the plane with no connecting flight and the airport was a mess. There were passengers everywhere and it was really disorganised. We ended up staying in a flea ridden hotel without our luggage for days.

What is the best airport you've visited and why?

Incheon Airport in Seoul, South Korea, because it's modern, clean, fast, and easy.

What tech do you expect in hotels when you are travelling?

Broadband access. If the hotel doesn't have broadband access, I will probably check out. When I had my own company, back in the early 2000s, we used to work with organisations providing internet to hotels.

Now that I know how much it costs those hotels just to have the internet access, I don't mind paying the high cost to use it.

What is your dream travel tech to have on planes/in airports/at hotels?

My dream travel tech would be to be able to replicate the content on my phone, tablet, and entire work station at home, without having to connect to a wire.

I want to be able walk in my home and have everything on my phone, computer, and tablet wirelessly replicated when I get back from holidays, or even while I'm overseas. I call it the “converged infrastructure dream.”

Favourite destination city to work/visit and why?

It would have to be Korea, due to the proliferation of Wi-Fi access. I can connect anywhere I want, and the penetration of Wi-Fi is just tremendous.

Which airport would you prefer to be stranded at and why?

This comes down to Frequent Flyer miles, but definitely not near a tropical island. I would rather be stranded in the Qantas Chairman's Lounge at Sydney Airport, to be honest.

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