In Frontpage Featured Content, News

 By Hans Hartman – Chair at Visual 1st

[Scroll down for And a few more things… industry news highlights]

With 29 days to go until Visual 1st, I’d like to introduce you to four highly accomplished individuals, each a prominent expert in one of the leading edge areas mentioned above.

They are pushing the boundaries in their respective fields, and we’re honored that they will share their perspectives and vision with us in four thought-provoking Fireside Chat sessions at Visual 1st, October 3-4 in San Francisco.

Visual 1st Fireside Chat sessions to date:

Pushing the Limits of Computational Photography

Alexander recently left his role as Technical Advisor to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to lead product management for the company’s computational photography teams.

With his product leadership, these teams have pioneered innovation on Pixel Camera, leveraging AI and computer vision techniques to create photos unimaginable only a few years ago.

Topics we’ll discuss with Alexander include the vision that drives Google’s strategy, some of the processes behind the company’s accomplishments, and his views on the hardware/software debate, including how far AI can take us in improving the customer experience of computational photography.

CEWE: the European market leader’s growth surge in a mature photo print market

In just 2 years at the helm of CEWE, CEO Dr. Christian Friege can boast of fast-growing revenues as well as stock prices.

The growth part: CEWE’s photofinishing sales are up more than 11% YoY for the first half of this year; its stock has gone up 40% since January.

The big part: 4,000 employees; 12 print plants that produce 6.2 million photobooks a year, printing 2.2 billion photos.

The how they did it part: We’ll hear Dr. Friege’s take on his company’s successes, while also getting a glimpse of what else CEWE might have in store for the coming years!

Combatting the bad and ugly of imaging AI – Deepfakes & beyond


At this point it’s still hard to fully grasp the potential of today’s AI-based image and face recognition innovations, as much more is on – and beyond – the horizon.

But so is the potential for abuse, whether threats to security and privacy, Deepfakes or malevolent AI.

Hear from Prof. Yampolskiy, founder of the Cybersecurity Lab, and author of over 100 publications on these topics, including multiple journal articles and books.


Turning yesterday’s photo masterpieces into today’s accessible, discoverable and engaging archives


Florence-based  is the world’s oldest photo archive with over 5 million photos. Not only is digitizing a collection of precious photos at this scale a tremendous undertaking, making them searchable, discoverable and engaging for today’s generation poses yet another set of formidable challenges.

That’s where AI comes to the rescue.

Hear from Andrea de Polo, who spearheads Fratelli Alinari’s efforts to make its cultural heritage accessible and engaging through an economically driven and technically savvy solution.

And a few more things…

Cameras, cameras. We all struggle to understand how the digital camera market keeps dwindling, and more importantly, where it could possibly have landed in a few years’ time. To trigger our imagination, my partner Alexis and I recently published 14 metaphors that compare digital cameras with smartphones.

This week, GigaOM founder and currently VC partner, Om Malik made a different analogy, comparing the digital camera market demise with what happened to the high-end Sun-dominated server market when Linux and Wintel servers started eating Sun’s lunch.

The takeaway? Digital camera vendors shouldn’t be on automatic pilot, cranking out higher and higher end cameras without taking into account the fact that today’s consumers expect to do different things with their cameras and photos than they did in the digital camera era.

All of this feeds right into our The Camera is Dead – Long Live the Camera panel discussion at Visual 1st, with representative from Zeiss, Samsung and Profoto, as well as the fireside chat we’ll have with Google’s Alexander Schiffhauer, which will dive into the power – and limitations – of computational photography. Join us at Visual 1st!

Facebook. Facebook is caving in to those who care about privacy and security (they exist). But help, who is in my photos? Or in whose photos am I? OMG, they’re taking my Likes away as well?

Flickr. Flickr announces a new service for its users to order prints, wall art, frames and printed mugs directly from their photostream Developed in conjunction with SmugMug the service uses print houses in Minnesota, California and Scotland to fulfill the orders, as well as Blurb and Chatbooks for the photo book services.

Skylum. Skylum is keeping the AI train rolling by debuting a new content-aware feature: AI Structure. AI Structure boosts details and increases local contrast in your images. Hear from Skylum’s CEO Alex Tsepko in our Developing and Leveraging Next-Gen AI & AR Consumer Imaging Solutions at Visual 1st.

Shutterfly. Moving beyond ship-to-home: The latest update to Shutterfly Inc.’s mobile apps has added same-day 4×6 glossy photo printing, with pickup at Walgreens and CVS.

Insta360. Last year’s Visual 1st Best of Show Award winner Insta360 is at it again: Insta360’s tiny new GO stabilized camera could be game-changer for social video.

Mailpix. Mailpix seeks to acquire more companies than the 5 it has acquired since 2014. It announces a Department of Acquisitions.

Visual 1st. Afternoon of Thursday Oct. 3; all day Friday Oct. 4; Golden Gate Club in the San Francisco Presidio. More info: Program & Speakers to date; Attendees to date; Attendee trailers to date; Buy your ticket now.

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Hans Hartman

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