Visual 1st returns with impressive program, engaged audience

Visual 1st conference at the historic Golden Gate Club. Photo by Mikkel Aaland

The Visual 1st conference, which had not been held in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returned Oct. 4-5, 2022, to the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco. The program was chock-full of sessions, demos, presentations, fireside chats, and networking events to share the latest innovations in imaging technology and markets.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term that has been bandied about the Visual 1st stage for years but it appears, at least in the opinion of attendees, that AI technology is ready for primetime in mainstream markets. “Generative AI” image creation – where original images can be created using AI by using text prompts – was a hot topic. Generative AI is used to create logos, game characters, stock images, and more.

Speaking remotely, data scientist Javier Ideami, CEO of Ideami and co-founder of The Geniverse, spoke of how AI won’t remove humans from the creative process but will “amplify the creative muscles, like the different Iron Man suits,” using a new set of tools. He also warned the future is still evolving, with similar technology that will be used to create realistic video and 3D models.

Video was another major topic, as short-form videos continue to take views and attention from photo apps. The “Turning Photo-Only Apps into Photo+Video Apps” session was one of the most-talked-about sessions, as the ongoing battle between Facebook/Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and other apps for “snackable video” views has put photo apps in the position to add video tools to compete.

2022 Visual 1st Award winners

At Visual 1st, an independent jury composed of prominent representatives of the technology and investment communities selected the following 2022 Visual 1st Award winners from among the Show and Tell presenters. Here are the winners:

Visual 1st Best of Show award: Kandao, for its QooCam EGO consisting of a stereoscopic camera, a 3D viewer that plugs into the camera, and an app for quick edits and adding 3D graphics. Award presented by Andy Kelm, Managing Director at Palmarés Advisors

Visual 1st Best Business Potential award: Zenfolio, for its solution offering a new way for Zenfolio’s professional photographer customers to save a substantial amount of time sorting, grouping and selecting photos for their clients.  Award presented by Jeff Herbst, Founding Managing Partner at GFT Ventures

Visual 1st Best Technology award: Twelve Labs, for its development of a multi-modal, contextual natural language solution for searching for and within videos. Award presented by Sami Niemi, Partner at Spintop Ventures.

Visual 1st Special Recognition award: Zingcam, for bringing “an element of wonder, whimsy, and delight to how consumers can enjoy viewing their visual memories as photo prints as well as fun videos,” according to Anna Dickson, Visual Lead, Google Image Search at Google.

Visual 1st winners, front row, from left: Malhar Patil, Zingcam; Kurt Hilmerson, Zenfolio; Soyoung Lee,Twelve Labs, and Jiawei Chen, Kandao. Judges, back row, from left: Sami Neimi, Spintop Ventures; Anna Dickson, Visual Lead, Google Image Search at Google; Jeff Herbst, Founding Managing Partner at GFT Ventures; and Andy Kelm, Managing Director at Palmarés Advisors. Photo by Mikkel Aaland.

The following video provides a flavor of this event:

[Special thanks to Mixbook for the lunch.]