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The V3 Hot Seat: Virgin Media Business chief operating officer Tony Grace

21 Aug 2012

Virgin Media Business chief operating officer Tony GraceTony Grace is the chief operating officer of Virgin Media Business, a role he has occupied since November 2011, helping oversee strategy, product development, business support, finance and customer operations.

Before this, Grace worked within Virgin Media, including overseeing much of the details around the merger of NTL and Telewest that led to the creation of the Virgin Media brand, having spent 10 years at Telewest, where he was managing director of Telewest Business.

Grace is the latest IT professional to enter the V3 Hot Seat, following on from the likes of Tech Hub chief executive Elizabeth Varley, and Raspberry Pi executive director Eben Upton.

V3: What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)

Tony Grace: I am a huge Celtic fan, and reckon that I could take the team to European glory, so manager of Celtic. I would say captain, but that really is dreaming – my footballing skills and legs aren't the best!

Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?

I'm either glued to my BlackBerry or my iPad. BlackBerry, for me, is perfect for work, where most of the time I'm drafting emails, and I find the keypad easier to operate than a touchscreen.

When I'm looking to wind down or watch a video on the train home then the iPad comes into its own. It isn't half bad for a game of Angry Birds or Fifa either! So, BlackBerry for work, iPad for leisure, but sometimes their roles swap.

Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?

Tim Berners-Lee – who'd have thought something called 'the web' would change our lives so dramatically, both in work and play? Many of us, from the moment we wake up, are connected to the web, it's just become a fundamental part of our lives. What's more, it's set to become an even bigger part – we're not too far away from every single object having some sort of digital identity.

Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?

I'm struggling to pick between my BlackBerry and superfast connectivity. As a device for accessing information wherever I am then of course the BlackBerry has had a massive impact on my working life.

But, then again, without superfast connectivity my BlackBerry would be nowhere near as useful. So, I guess I'm going to have to go with fast connectivity, and, with 4G around the corner and better mobile backhaul networks, we're going to see our smartphones work at warp speed soon.

What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?

The fast pace and ever-evolving nature of the industry. No two days are the same, with trends such as big data, bring your own device and mobile working all gaining momentum.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

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