A recent study showed that 40% of the picture-taking crowd responsible for the more than 1,8 billion images uploaded daily said they lack discipline to routinely sort their images, while an extra 47% said they don’t mind. However, a large majority would be extremely happy to have an automated system take the load of their back . Enters Lumific, an app that can automatically sort, edit and intelligently manage your photos so that you can return to taking pictures carelessly and never worry about finding them. We sat down with co- founder and ceo Jonathan Wills to find out more :
Why create Lumific ?
Lumific was born out of a problem my co-founder and I both shared, which was that we took way too many photos. We took tons of photos on trips but we never
had the time to sort through them, find the best ones, edit them and share to friends and family. With the latest developments in computer vision and machine learning, it is now possible to train computers to intelligently sort and edit photos and we want to bring this technology to the everyday photo taker to assist in this time-consuming process.
Auto-curation is fast becoming a crowded space in the app world, how is Lumific different?
Lumific does not just split photos into events by time and geo-location but tries to understand the quality and the content of the images and then make decisions based on this data. Lumific detects groups of similar photos, not just duplicates and then aesthetically ranks each photo in the group, similar to how a human would. Lumific looks at composition, color harmony, scene, people etc and picks the best photo, collapsing the others into a stack behind. We also automatically enhance and correct all photos, so not just simple image enhancement but Lumific automatically corrects crooked photos as well as applying a crop that better aligns with the rules from traditional photography. Rediscovery of your photos with Lumific is a breeze too. Simply just remember the scene, contents, place or time and instantly you can filter your photos finding that 1 in 10,000.
Are you using deep learning to better understand the images you are processing?
Absolutely. Being able to understand the contents of images helps us better tailor the photo management experience for our users. Knowing what the image is helps us dynamically fine tune our auto-enhance algorithm for certain types of scenes. In addition, knowing what’s actually in the photos enables a richer vocabulary for search; not only can you search yours photos with Lumific by time and place, with image understanding, we can filter for images of your dog, or your favorite beach etc.
Who is your typical customers ?
Our typical customers are those who like taking photos that have a longer lifespan i.e. not ephemeral-style photos. The auto grouping of similar photos resonates well people who take a lot of repeated photos of a subject. Typically these people are individuals with young children or pets. A lot of our users are also just everyday mobile photo takers, we want Lumific to become the default gallery replacement for everyone on both Android and iOS.
You worked on your beta with a selected group of 1,000 selected users. Did they make you change the direction of the product and overall, was it useful. Would you do it again ?
The beta group had been instrumental in making the app what it is today. It gave us a clearer sense of what mattered most to our users and allowed us to prioritize features. As a small team it is very easy to get tunnel-vision and build the cool features. Having a beta group meant we were building the features that added the most value.
Since the app is free, what is the business model?
Initially we are partnering with Snapfish allowing our users to print hard copies of their photos directly from the Lumific app and have them delivered home or to loved ones. We will also be introducing In-app purchases for added functionalities for pro-users. We are also looking at potentially opening up our technology through a paid api for business. Regardless, we do want to try and maintain the core functionalities of the app to be free for consumers when feasible.
There is a trend for cloud solution companies( Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive) to try and grab the image hosting market by offering features. Have you been approached yet by one of them?
We have spoken with many companies in the photo space but these have all resolved around shared ideas for the future of mobile photography and potential partnerships if we were ever to open up our api.
More and more, people have photos in various places ( desktop, phone, cloud). Will Lumific help me with organizing it all ?
Currently, we are focusing on solving the problem for mobile and cloud. The Lumific android app lets you connect your dropbox account allowing you to view, search and edit your cloud stored photos right along side the photos stored and taken on your device. We will be supporting other services in the future such as Google+/Picasso, OneDrive etc
Some people say, once you control people photos, you control their lives . Is that what you are trying to do, become the new Facebook or Instagram ?
I don’t think Facebook or Instagram ever set out to become the Facebook or Instagram of today, they just set out to solve a problem they were passionate about and reduce a pain that was felt by lots of people. We are doing the same, photos will never be solved but everyone feels the burden and wishes it was easier. Our mission is to make it as effortless as possible! There is no doubt in the value of the data locked away in people’s photos and being able to unlock it through technologies like deep learning is incredibly exciting and i’m sure will take us on our own unique path.
What would you like to offer your clients that technology cannot yet deliver?
Lumific’s vision is to make managing all your photos effortless. Your work should be done after the shutter clicks. I’m not just talking about organization, editing and storage but automating the whole curation process. From picking the best photos to automatic event name generation and even potentially generating the photo descriptions from the information extracted from the photos. We are creating a future where the burden of photo management no longer exists.
Lumific is currently available for Android with and iOS version coming soon.
Photo by aftab.
Author: Paul Melcher
Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.