Categorized | Smart Phone App

A Few Guitars, a Mac, Two Computer Geeks and a Dream = One Cool Smart Phone App

By Diane Hamilton

A brief overview of our smartphone app

A Few Guitars, a Mac, Two Computer Geeks and a Dream = One Cool Smart Phone AppHome Inventory Photo Remote is a free companion app for Home Inventory, the full-featured Mac app for keeping track of your possessions. Home Inventory Photo Remote makes keeping an inventory fun, fast, and easy using your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It connects to Home Inventory on your Mac over WiFi so you can freely wander around your home to add items and photos as you see them. Use the built-in camera to ‘scan’ the barcode on an item or its packaging for automatic entry. This feature makes adding newly purchased items a snap.

In the beginning….

A Few Guitars, a Mac, Two Computer Geeks and a Dream = One Cool Smart Phone AppLike most successful businesses, our company started out of a personal need almost six years ago when my then soon-to-be husband, Kevin, could not find any software in the marketplace suitable for tracking his growing guitar collection. You see, by day he was a windows developer, by night a musician. And in-between those pursuits—and wooing me—he was teaching himself how to develop for this cool new Mac he had just purchased. He decided to build a product himself, and in October of 2005, the first release of Home Inventory was introduced for the Mac. Hoping to make some extra guitar—I mean engagement ring—money, he built a quick website and began to sell the product to others. By the end of 2005 he sold a whopping five copies!

Fast forward to 2011

Our company is Binary Formations, and it can be found at http://binaryformations.com/. Based in Virginia, Binary Formations is a software development company specializing in applications for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. We are a husband-and-wife team with over 35 years of combined experience designing and developing software and are committed to superior quality, usability and customer service. We have come a long way since the fall of 2005, having recently turned what started as a hobby back then into a growing business today.

Our most popular app is Home Inventory, which is available on the Mac. As the name implies, it is home inventory management software for keeping track of your possessions. Use it to get organized, to track your collections, and for insurance purposes.

What sets Home Inventory apart?

The turning point for Binary Formations came with the release of Home Inventory 2.1 in January of 2010. We affectionately refer to it as our ‘love letter’ to our customers. We have the best customers from all over the world, and with their continuous support and feedback—and a lot of hard work—we were able to produce a solid, full-featured product. We have had years of constant communication with our customers, listening to what they want to see in a product and how they want to use a home inventory management system. For us, that is the key to any good product. It must solve a problem, and people must be willing to pay for it. After almost a year of working nights and weekends while maintaining full-time jobs, Home Inventory version 2.1 was completed.

Home Inventory doesn’t focus solely on a certain type of inventory, such as media or a particular type of collection, as some specialized products do, but it provides the same functionality for tracking all of your possessions. Because we have been building on this product for many years now, the feature set is robust and mature and provides functionally for all three pillars of keeping an inventory – organization, collections, and insurance coverage.

Home Inventory addresses organization by providing the ability to electronically store all item information, including receipts, photos, warranties, user manuals, dated notes, and all the details of your items in one place. It focuses on insurance coverage by providing analysis reports to determine if you are over insured or underinsured based on the value of your possessions, even taking into consideration special coverage needs such as limits on certain categories like jewelry or business equipment. Home Inventory addresses tracking collections by providing several methods of valuation, either based on the sum of individual items, the collection as a whole or a combination of both while tracking the items individually. Whether your focus is on organization, insurance, or collections, the standard and custom reports will provide for all your reporting needs. After moving three times ourselves in one year, we even created a standard ‘moving’ report for checking in and out items.

But what about the cool smart phone app?

A Few Guitars, a Mac, Two Computer Geeks and a Dream = One Cool Smart Phone AppThe addition of the smart phone app, Home Inventory Photo Remote, this February raises the bar for home inventory management software even higher. The level of ease and usability it brings to the task of maintaining a home inventory is unprecedented, and it has been very well received by our customers and the market alike.

Let’s face it—smart phones were not meant for heavy data entry, so instead of duplicating the entire Home Inventory product for the iPhone, we built a smart phone app that allows you to add your items and photos of your items to your inventory on your Mac from the convenience of your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad while walking freely around your home. It even allows you to scan barcodes from your iPhone for automatically populating item information on your Mac. Home Inventory Photo Remote makes keeping a home inventory even easier than ever. Our customers even tell us taking an inventory is now not only fast and easy but also fun!

Creating a home inventory is something that almost everyone knows they need to do but most don’t because it is just too hard. Also, most people don’t realize there is a tool like Home Inventory available to make it easier. We often get emails from customers thanking us for writing Home Inventory and Home Inventory Photo Remote. They tell us they have wanted to create a home inventory for years and with our apps have finally been successful. I love hearing from our customers and updating our testimonial page with these emails! What I prefer not to receive is the email that says they wished they knew about our product prior to the flood, or hurricane, or fire or theft. Unfortunately, we do get these types of emails, and it breaks my heart, which is why we appreciate the media coverage that has recently been placed on the importance of creating a home inventory. Farhad Manjoo from the New York Times recently focused on creating a home inventory in a feature story titled “Apps for Taking Inventory at Home”. About Home Inventory from Binary Formations he states “Home Inventory has a plus: it offers a companion “remote” that lets you take pictures and add details of your stuff with your iPhone.”

So the bottom line is that it is the maturity and usefulness of the features and the convenience of the smart phone app that sets Home Inventory apart.

Can a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc. use our products?

There is a whole new breed of entrepreneurs called Home Inventory Professionals who provide services for a fee to perform a home inventory. Think about it? Someone else gets to do all the work inventorying your items. Brilliant!

Though our focus with Home Inventory is the individual consumer and making this task much easier for them, we have found that because of the customizable reports, the focus on insurance and the ease of creating an inventory using our Home Inventory Photo Remote, home inventory professionals are choosing our products to provide services for their clients. Reports can even be branded with their company logo and information. Some go a step further and buy a copy of Home Inventory for their client as part of their service so they can maintain the inventory once it is created.

There are also professional organizers who have built their companies to help their clients get some control and organization over their chaotic lives. In fact there are entire television shows dedicated to the subject now. Home Inventory with Home Inventory Photo Remote is yet one more set of tools in the professional organizers toolbox for providing a quality service. Think about how nice it would be for their clients if they were able to maintain all the information about their possessions with ease electronically instead of keeping hard copy receipts, warranties, and user manuals laying around in folders and boxes.

Home Inventory is a very flexible and easy to use option for home inventory professionals and professional organizers who are always looking for ways to increase productivity. This is a win-win-win situation for Binary Formations, the Professional, and most important the consumer.

A Few Guitars, a Mac, Two Computer Geeks and a Dream = One Cool Smart Phone AppWhere can I find Home Inventory and Home Inventory Photo Remote?

Home Inventory is $14.99 and available in the Mac App Store or from our website. We also provide a free trial version on our website. Home Inventory Photo Remote is free and available in the iTunes App Store and runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

What’s next for Binary Formations?

As a company we are focused on creating software that enhances the quality of everyday life through increased productivity, education, and self-improvement. Our product portfolio consists of the following applications:

Home Inventory – The full-featured, home inventory management application for the Mac.

Home Inventory Photo Remote – A free companion app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, that works with Home Inventory on the Mac to remotely add items to an inventory.

Adam Learns Shapes and Colors – An educational game for the iPad that helps teach children basic shapes and colors.

Kick the Habit – An app for the iPhone and iPod touch designed to help people quit smoking.

While Home Inventory will remain our priority, we currently have multiple apps for various Apple platforms in different phases of the product life cycle. All our apps come from ideas or needs in our own life, so you may see another app or two focused on guitars or even perhaps our now 3-year old! We expect to complete at least one new app by end of this year with more next year. But as I have learned the hard way throughout my career, no release dates or features will be promised at this time! Life happens. Priorities change.

Our company is self-funded. My husband left corporate America over a year ago and hasn’t looked back. He has owned a previous start-up and we have both worked for several other start-ups in our careers playing many different roles and are managing to use that experience, good and bad, to move forward on a shoestring budget.

We continue to see year-after-year growth since the company was founded and, while slow those first few years, we plan to accelerate this growth as we expand. With our commitment to quality products and support, the recent addition of the Mac App Store, continued media coverage, a good sense of humor, a strong faith, and continued support and encouragement from our customers, family and friends, the sky’s the limit. Feel free to follow us at the following:

Blog @ http://binaryformations.com/blog/

Twitter @ Bformations

Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Binary-Formations/10150097940955577

Sign up for our Newsletter @ http://binaryformations.com/index.html

Email: [email protected]

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