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Industry Influencer www.parkworld-online.com


The three


founding moments that made Alterface


CEO and Founder, Benoit Cornet reveals all


offices. Together with a worldwide network of partners, the Alterface team develops end-to- end interactive attractions for dark rides, spinning and duelling theatres and walkthroughs, customised to fit local cultures and traditions.


F


PW: Tell me about your background – how did you get into the industry? BC: Unlike many people active in the industry today, I was absolutely not a park fan as a boy, nor was anyone of my family involved in this industry. I was raised in a world made of chocolate as my family was in the “sweets” business and had a pretty good reputation in Belgium and in the North of France. In my family, entertainment was more considered as a waste of time and work was central so it is no


58


ounded in 2001 and headquartered in Belgium, Europe, Alterface operates globally with US and Chinese branch


surprise that I started my career as a Financial Analyst for a very large American household product company. I was rapidly frustrated by the relative “creativity adverse” environment and I decided to move on to do something more of my own. A couple of years at a multinational prepress company and then an internet start-up, preceeded the start of Alterface.


PW: When was Alterface established and what did it look like at that time? BC: Alterface was founded in 2001; it was originally a spin-off of the University of Louvain (in Belgium) that I happen to get across through a happy coincidence. The first product we created was a magic mirror that would film people and integrate them into CGI environments. This was a fun product, very unfinished and unstable at the time, but it was already an application of what people call today “AR”. In those years, there was already a lot of


discussion around VR as well - it is funny how some things never change! Alterface had a tough start as we tapped into a


difficult market, mainly science centres, which have very long procurement cycles, moderate budgets and a high level of customisation... Nothing that an entrepreneur would like to experience, yet those challenges proved to be crucial to build the company as we have it today, we learned a lot from it!


PW: How has it evolved since? BC: Through the first project we understood that the only chance to survive in this industry would be to develop a tool that would enable us to create attractions that are easily customisable and all at a decent price. This is why we started developing ‘Salto’, a modular interactive show control system. Every new project meant developing some new modules and therefore became an investment in the future of the company and the new customers were


JUNE 2019


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