Inter­la­ke: The Tech at the Media­Tech Hub Potsdam

How does an IT com­pa­ny like Inter­la­ke come to be part of the Media­Tech Hub? What does the search for tech­ni­cal tools to sol­ve cus­to­mers’ pro­blems have to do with media? Whe­re does tech come tog­e­ther with media in the company?

Quite sim­ply: the sec­tor of e-lear­ning is a cen­tral field of acti­vit for Inter­la­ke. Inter­la­ke is respon­si­ble for pro­vi­ding tech­ni­cal sup­port to com­pa­nies for the pre­sen­ta­ti­on and dis­tri­bu­ti­on of lear­ning mate­ri­als, i.e. informing employees at seve­ral loca­ti­ons about all sorts of things such as pro­duct deve­lo­p­ments and new laun­ches. This infor­ma­ti­on can be pre­sen­ted in an attrac­ti­ve way on dif­fe­rent plat­forms - in the form of text and images, but also, for exam­p­le, by means of vide­os or ani­ma­ti­on. Com­pa­nies can also deploy e-lear­ning to iden­ti­fy par­ti­cu­lar­ly qua­li­fied employees and their untap­ped poten­ti­al, and then iden­ti­fy and reme­dy defi­ci­ts in others.

Deca­des of expe­ri­ence and con­ti­nu­al mar­ket ana­ly­sis help the Pots­da­mers to pro­vi­de a relia­ble assess­ment as to which of the num­e­rous e-lear­ning tools available on the mar­ket is the appro­pria­te one for the respec­ti­ve com­pa­ny. Inter­la­ke also offers advice on how com­pa­nies can prepa­re sto­ries so that they are inte­res­t­ing and unders­tood by their tar­get groups - inclu­ding the didac­tic ques­ti­ons that need to be con­side­red. Arti­fi­ci­al intel­li­gence is also used in ths context.

Inter­la­ke reli­es on coope­ra­ti­on within the indus­try in order to achie­ve more tog­e­ther and dri­ve the indus­try for­ward - on coope­ra­ti­on and part­ner­ships, on com­bi­ned exper­ti­se. Working tog­e­ther on lar­ge pro­jects and sol­ving dif­fi­cult tasks, is the com­pa­ny mot­to, says Jen­ny Beut­na­gel, Direc­tor Cor­po­ra­te Deve­lo­p­ment, at Inter­la­ke. Sven Sla­zen­ger, one of the company’s two mana­ging direc­tors, fol­lo­wed his con­vic­tion and made a signi­fi­cant con­tri­bu­ti­on to making Pots­dam one of the sites for the Digi­tal Hub Initia­ti­ve - and the only one in Ger­ma­ny for Media­tech. He was and is con­vin­ced of the added value of 120 com­pa­nies loca­ted on a squa­re kilo­met­re in Pots­dam-Babels­berg. “We sup­port each other and bene­fit from one ano­ther,” he stres­ses. “The fur­ther tech­ni­cal deve­lo­p­ment of the film and tele­vi­si­on indus­try here has enorm­ous poten­ti­al. This crea­tes added value for com­pa­nies out­side the enter­tain­ment industry.”

Inter­la­ke not only par­ti­ci­pa­tes in the Dwerft rese­arch alli­ance within the Media­Tech Hub net­work, but also has a 25 per­cent sta­ke in Volu­cap (a volu­metric film stu­dio making walk-in films pos­si­ble). Inter­la­ke is con­vin­ced that it will bene­fit from Volucap’s tech­no­lo­gy in the long term. “Good e-lear­ning means that sto­ries are con­stant­ly being told in new and dif­fe­rent ways,” says Sla­zen­ger, “and this includes with visio­na­ry tech­no­lo­gies. Volu­cap was also foun­ded in Pots­dam on the initia­ti­ve of Inter­la­ke, Stu­dio Babels­berg, Arri, Fraun­ho­fer HHI and UFA based on the expe­ri­en­ces with the first holo­grams that Inter­la­ke had deve­lo­ped with Micro­soft. “The tech­no­lo­gy of Volu­cap allows us to think of fur­ther exten­si­ons of e-lear­ning at a time when the com­pu­ter will hop out of the dis­play and enrich our rea­li­ty,¨ Sla­zen­ger says, poin­ting to the added value of Volu­cap for the field of e-lear­ning at Interlake.

What’s more Möven­pick, Coca Cola, Daim­ler, Luft­han­sa, McDo­nalds and many others are among Interlake’s cus­to­mers, a com­pa­ny that’s also one of Mircrosoft’s Gold Part­ners. Around 30 peo­p­le are curr­ent­ly working for Inter­la­ke in Pots­dam. The com­pa­ny has other loca­ti­ons in Pon­te Vedra Beach near Jack­son­ville in the USA whe­re Inter­la­ke is on the loo­kout for new pro­ducts, and in Tal­linn, the capi­tal of Esto­nia, the world’s most digi­ti­sed nation.

The foun­ders Sven Sla­zen­ger, a com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on sci­en­tist, and Dr. Ste­fan Salz­brunn, with a PhD in che­mis­try, come from Lake Con­s­tance and have known each other sin­ce child­hood. Their enthu­si­asm for the Inter­net led them to set up Inter­la­ke in 1997 whilst they were still stu­dy­ents. The name sim­ply con­sists of Inter­net and Lake. It ori­gi­nal­ly meant Lake Con­s­tance. But the name also fits per­fect­ly with the lakes around Potsdam.

By Eva Werner

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About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.