Chief Operating Officer
Before joining Neutral Digital, a virtual reality (VR) content creator focused on the travel sector, Greg was a strategy consultant in London. He founded a smart relocation business in 2015 and also spent 18 months in the design industry working for an eco-friendly lighting start-up. In his spare time, he can be found on the tennis court.
Frequent flight: LHR – HKG
Now reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Favorite aircraft: Equator P2 Xcursion
Brand of suitcase: Horizn Studios
Seatback or PED? The two of them, connected!
Passport stamp you wish you had: Greenland
Give us a glimpse into a day in the life of your job.
It’s a recognized start-up cliché, but no two days are the same. A typical week for me can involve client meetings in London, running a team-building activity, getting involved in project quality assurance or flying to Doha for the day for business development.
What is the role of VR in the airline passenger experience?
VR is primarily useful as a passenger experience communicator. Our projects increase brand recognition, showcase something special (a new aircraft or route), build familiarity with a new cabin or whet holiday appetites with destination scenes. VR has a unique ability to create memory and inspire reaction from the user.
Where do you see aviation VR going next?
Training will see the next big gains from implementing VR. Cabin crew training need no longer be an entirely physical activity at a flight training center or on board a grounded aircraft. The same goes for training ground operations staff.
In-cabin VR is also touted as the next big development. While there are still a few refinements to be made in terms of the hardware and exactly what the content offering should look like, I am inclined to agree with this prediction. I strongly believe that there won’t be a single niche of the aviation sector that doesn’t rely in some capacity on VR or immersive technology in 5 years from now.
“There won’t be a single niche of the aviation sector that doesn’t rely in some capacity on VR or immersive technology in 5 years from now.”
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Seeing people’s reactions to our technology when experiencing it for the first time. One of the unique things about Neutral is that we get to help an entire sector understand how it can glean value from an emerging technology. A lot of people have preconceptions about what VR is, and typically confuse it with 360° video technology. Putting people in a fully interactive VR environment where they can treat their surroundings like a video game is incredibly powerful and it’s amazing to see their minds open to what it can do.
What’s the most overlooked aspect of the passenger experience?
Airport security. Perhaps I’m being too much of an ex-consultant, but I tend to see processes in terms of how they could be more efficient. It feels as though, when it comes to security, there’s an established process in place that shows few or no signs of changing.
My eyes were opened to a new way of doing things by a very simple piece of innovation at Abu Dhabi International Airport last year, when I went through security and wasn’t required to unpack my bag before sending it through the scanner. It made me realize that, where practical, the smallest marginal gains can really affect passengers’ attitudes.
If you could sit next to anyone on a flight, who would it be?
Sean Bean. I’m a massive Bond fan and his portrayal of Trevelyan in GoldenEye was the best villain performance I’ve ever seen. I’d hope for his sake the flight was short-haul as I’d probably have thousands of questions for him!