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Published on April 1, 2020

 By Hans Hartman
Chair at Visual 1st 
[Scroll down for And a few more things… industry news highlights]

I’m writing to update you about Visual 1st 2020. With virtually all photo/video industry tradeshows and conferences cancelled or postponed, my partner Alexis Gerard and I would like to share our plans for the Visual 1st 2020 conference, which have been shaped by many conversations with industry friends and alumni attendees.

We strongly believe – now more than ever – that transformative changes brought to our industry, both by the global pandemic itself and by major impending technology innovations ranging from the rollout of 5G to mass deployment of depth sensors, require a safe environment for imaging industry executives and startups to connect, strategize and learn together.

Therefore, I want you to know that we’re fully planning to hold the 8th edition of our Visual 1st conference as scheduled on October 14-15. Given that’s almost 6 months out, our hope and expectation is that attendance in-person will be possible, assuming conditions at the time are safe for all involved. If not, we’re committed to holding a virtual edition of the conference through innovative live video feeds + various levels of interactivity.

Our commitment is being matched by a group of great industry partners who are supporting us in making this possible. We’re pleased to announce the following initial 2020 Gold Sponsors:

We’re extremely grateful for their willingness to step up in these challenging times thereby helping us to provide a venue where we can connect, learn and plan. In the aftermath of this health crisis business will resume, and we all need to be prepared.

We realize that all of you are going through tremendously disruptive times and have many short-term emergencies to deal with. For this reason, we’ll start more actively recruiting speakers, sponsors and Show & Tell presenters a bit later than we normally do. In addition, we’ve moved the VIP Early Bird Ticket deadline to July 31.

Thank you very much for your support.

Please be sure to contact me with any suggestions or questions; and stay safe!

And a few more things…

First, several extraordinary initiatives from photo print fulfillment companies who are stepping up to support the fight against covid-19. (If there are any other initiatives not mentioned, please let me know and we’ll share the info to inspire others in our imaging industry.)


Picanova. Personalized face masks. Personalized print product provider, Picanova has added a new product in its MEINFOTO portfolio: fashionable personalized face masks. In addition, it will donate 100K CE-certified masks to medical facilities of which the first donated 10K have already been delivered to the Uniklinik in Cologne.

Nations Photo Lab. Face shieldsNations Photo Lab, sister company of last year’s Visual 1st sponsor Artsy Couture, announced it has retooled its machinery to produce protective face shields and will donate $100K worth of shields to organizations most in need.

Circle Graphics. Free signageCircle Graphics is offering free signage to hospitals and testing sites.


Hypno. Sharing covid-19 stories. Good timing to enable sharing covid-19 stories. Hypno launches “Stories from indoors,” a site powered by their new Capsule product, aimed at brands to create narrative-driven content with communities at home.

IMOTO photo. Going virtual. Good timing to enable better viewing of real estate properties from home: IMOTO photo launches a 360 Video Walkthrough to help realtors show their properties virtually rather than in person.

Instagram. Co-watching feeds. Good timing to enable browsing Instagram feed posts together with remote friends while video chatting. Instagram launches Co-Watching.

Snapchat Zenly. Gamifying shelter-in-place. Good timing to launch the Stay At Home challenge to see who of your friends has stayed at home the most. Zenly features location-sharing and was acquired by Snapchat in 2017.

Suite 48 Analytics. The 2020 Photo Products Survey. Good timing to learn more about the drivers of consumer photo products buying behavior. Here and here are tidbits of content from the report; or purchase the survey report here – and support our photo research practice!

Apple. ARKit 3 leverages lidarApple releases ARKit 3.5, adding Scene Geometry API and lidar support (the new 2020 iPad Pro features a lidar sensor and the rumors are that next versions of the iPhone will have the same). The new Scene Geometry API uses the lidar scanner to create a 3D map of a space, differentiating between floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, and seats. The scanner is able to rapidly measure lengths, widths, and depths of objects at an up to five-meter distance, enabling users to quickly create a digital facsimile that can be used for object occlusion — making digital objects appear to partially blend into a scene behind real objects.

Huawei. Pushing the smartphone camera envelopeHuawei announces the P40, the P40 Pro and the P40 Pro+ line of smartphones. They are powered by Huawei’s own system on a chip, the Kirin 990, and they work on 5G networks. When it comes to cameras, the P40 Pro+ has four different camera modules and a time-of-flight sensor for depth sensing — an ultra-wide lens (18mm), a normal lens (23mm), a 3x lens (80mm) and a super periscope lens with a 10x optical zoom. That last camera is the equivalent of a 240mm lens.

For superior light control, Huawei partnered with Profoto to enable controlling the Profoto’s C1 and C1 Plus wireless smartphone flashes through Huawei’s StudioKit ecosystem.

Sony. Spinning off. Sony announced it is spinning off its Electronics Products & Solutions (EP&S) segment—including its imaging and mobile businesses—into an intermediate holding company called Sony Electronics Corporation.

Forever. One-click photobook. Photo and video storage company, Forever Inc. launches FOREVER AutoBook, which enables users to create a photobook from their online albums through the click of a button. Users can also individually select a series of photos from anywhere in their FOREVER Accounts and have them added to an AutoBook.

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Stay safe – and keep others safe!

Hans Hartman 

Published by

Hans Hartman

Hans Hartman

Chair at Visual 1st
Published • 4h
154 articles
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