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Meet the people behind O2: John Aloy

A series that looks at the people behind the technologies we support across Britain.

At O2 we employee thousands of talented individuals to support our diverse customer base. From front line staff working in store with the latest mobiles, accessories and consumer products, to technical specialists who can design your integrated mobile, Wifi and fixed-line networks, as well as identify the right managed services and digital solutions for your organisation. At O2 we believe that the solutions we provide are only as good as the people that help you make the most of them.

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John Aloy, Managing Partner – Travel & Transport

What do you do at O2?

I support O2’s public services customers involved in infrastructure, who I guess you could collectively call those who look after planes, trains, automobiles. It’s a role I have done for nearly four years, although I have been with O2 in a number of public services roles for seven.

How did you end up doing what you do, and why O2?

Well working in mobile technology wasn’t part of my master plan after I left school. In fact as a child I was obsessed with Egyptian art, studied Antiquities and Collections and qualified as a museum curator.

I soon realised that the career options were extremely limited and, after a brief stint working in the building trade with my father, I took a job in a mobile phone shop. It proved to be a significant opportunity and I discovered a real passion for technology.

Since joining O2 in 2012 I have taken roles focused on supporting the UK’s public services, including in healthcare, utilities, local and central Government, before being asked to lead our travel and transport practice.

What gets you energised in the morning for the day ahead?

I’ll freely admit to being a bit of a geek at heart, not just because of my love of technology but also the impact it has on people’s lives. For example, I can sit on the morning train, look out at the concrete troughs that run alongside the tracks containing fibre optic communications cabling, and think to myself proudly “We did that!”

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I hate missing a train because I wasn’t able to buy a ticket in time. It seems to happen to me way more often than it should, and although it may be down to my sense of timing, I do like to grumble about it.

What’s been your proudest achievement so far in your career?

As a child I was painfully shy and any kind of social interaction with groups of people was out of the question. So standing up and talking in front of hundreds of people, who had paid to come and hear me talk, is my proudest moment to date. I found it exhilarating and it represented a real turnaround for me.

What’s been the strangest moment during your time at O2?

As part of O2’s sponsorship of the England Rugby team I was at an event with my daughter making cupcakes with the England squad.

If that wasn’t strange enough we were both watching a game on TV a few weeks later, and when my daughter saw Jonathan Joseph running with the ball she piped up: “Daddy is that the one I made cupcakes with?” The fact that I was able to answer that question with a yes still astounds me!

How do you see your role evolving in the future?

I was brought up on classic cartoons and one that has always stuck in my head is The Jetsons. I resent the fact that we don’t yet have the shiny utopia of flying cars that the Jetsons promised us.

We’re still a long way off, but I see my role as helping to deliver the technology promises of the past, and I look forward to the day when my job routinely involves discussing flying and autonomous cars.

How do you switch off and wind-down?

A huge sci-fi and fantasy buff and gamer, the inner geek in me is never happier than playing games or watching truly awful sci-fi movies.

What does a healthy relationship with technology look like for you?

I’m aware that few people would describe my relationship with technology as a healthy one. Most of my downtime involves at least one screen, often more. You’ll often find me playing a game with a sci-fi movie playing on another screen.

My attitude towards my children’s use of technology is very different, however. I have been teaching my eight year old to type, and she does play a few games, but we impose strict limits on her screen time.

How long would you survive a full digital detox for?

I wouldn’t.

What’s the one gig or show that changed your life?

I was in New York on a business trip and heard that Armin Van Buren was playing at a very small festival to celebrate the landing of the Dutch settlers. I went and danced for hours and hours in a venue with no more than 300 people, the other times I have seen him there have been several thousand!

What are you most excited about that the future will bring?

To my fellow geeks who will know the game Shadowrun… I’m looking forward to the day we can share our collective experiences and knowledge.

John is always happy to share ideas and talk about technology. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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