C-Suite Talk Fav Tech: Serge Huber, Jahia

Serge Huber talks about why he is excited about the “year of virtual reality”.

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Serge Huber

Title: CTO

Company: Jahia

Industry: UX

Location: Washington DC, Paris and Geneva

Experience: Over 15 years


What is your favourite personal gadget?
Currently it is my Apple Watch. It has a lot of drawbacks such as the slow application starts, but it has proven incredibly useful in many situations. One of the most useful applications is using voice recognition to dictate reminders to the watch. Clearly this technology is in its infancy, but it will be very interesting to watch as it develops.

Do you have a favourite piece of personal software?
As an amateur drone pilot, I produce a lot of footage using my DJI Phantom 2 that carries a GoPro Hero 3 camera. I end up producing a lot of raw video and editing it was proving to be a real challenge. After trying many different tools I ended up using Final Cut Pro. I really like the way the workflow is setup and it makes me very productive.

What was the first piece of technology you got really excited about?
I would definitely have to say the Casio FX-700P, a programmable calculator that I got when I was seven years old. I was amazed that I could fit a programmable computer in my pocket. I learned how to write software on this device and I still think it was advanced for its time.

What device improves your life most at work?
My main workhorse is a MacBook Pro 13”. I do everything with it and when combined with my phone’s WiFi tethering, it’s fantastic that I can do advanced server-side Java programming from literally anywhere where I can get a GSM connection. I can be in the Swiss Alps at a ski resort and administer a cluster of Amazon AWS services or write native mobile applications all while reaching my colleagues on Skype, Google Hangout or Slack in real-time.  

What software keeps you most productive at work?
I use JetBrains Intellij IDEA. This tool is great because it goes out of its way to make code writing and maintenance as productive as possible. The main drawback is that it is a resource hog, and can really tax your computer’s CPU and memory. However, what it offers more than compensates for that.

Is there any technology that has become extinct that you would like to resurrect?
Back when MS-DOS was the dominant “operating system”, a few other companies were also trying to propose new operating systems for the PC platform. I was really impressed with GeoWorks Ensemble. It featured a multi-tasking graphical environment that was much more powerful than what Windows offered at the time, offering full vectorial font support (a rarity at the time), and was also much faster than Windows on equivalent hardware.

Is there any technology you would personally recommend that you don’t think enough people know about? (Hardware or software, work or personal.)
Recently, when working on Apache Unomi, I was looking for a good runtime platform and came across Apache Karaf. For me it is a “hidden gem” as it’s extremely powerful but also a very customisable platform. It is at its core a Java OSGi runtime but what it really focuses on is making it very easy and quick to build dynamic and extremely modular software.

Do you think anything about your personal use of tech would surprise your colleagues?
I’m very excited about 2016 as it has been dubbed the “year of virtual reality”. I will probably buy one or more of the headsets that will be released this year, and will look at how they can apply to our industry but also how they may integrate with my personal life. I personally have a preference for augmented reality technologies, but some really neat virtual reality hardware is coming out this year which I will definitely look into. Bridging virtual reality with content technologies might seem at odds, but it actually isn’t, it’s all about how you communicate and interact with content, and with other users. It’s just another interface that will or won’t stand the test of time.