Zugara is on the road to solving some of life's most perplexing questions: What do we do with Augmented Reality and Does my ass look fat in this dress? Based in Culver City, California, the full-service digital marketing agency, co-founded by CEO Matthew Szymczyk and Creative Director Hans Forsman, has created a trio of proprietary technologies that prove AR isn't jus t that thing magazines slap on their cover to make like they've crossed over into the future. Rather, it's something that can be highly useful. Take the company's Fashionista app. Fashionista uses AR markers (ZugAR), motion capture (ZugMo) and streaming videoconferencing (ZugSTAR) to set up a virtual dressing room whereby its users can virtually try on clothing sold on shopping sites and determine that yes, that dress would make your butt look like a barrel--not just by the shopper's own estimation, but also with the immediate feedback from friends. The company's AR expertise developed largely thanks to other key individuals, Director of Marketing Strategy Jack Benoff, Technical Lead Aaron von Hungen and Senior Software Engineer Blake Callens, who, along with the founders are now implement Zug-tech for other augmented videoconferencing uses like education and medicine, which, like Fashionista, will allow online chatters to share their AR experiences in realtime.
Szymczyk, on the importance of proprietary technologies for digital companies: On the interactive side itself, it's incredible how fast services are being commoditized. Just last year, iPhone app development was a premium service offering and already you have DIY software to create your own iPhone apps. As an interactive company, I think it's critical that you can develop other revenue streams given how fast services side work will be susceptible to change. Proprietary tech is important for certain agencies that want to have better control over their positioning in the future agency/brand landscape. We are looking at proprietary tech to be our main source of revenue by 2011.