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MyHomeContents: One of my new projects

A year ago my friend’s mother had a really bad day.

She got home from work one day to find the whole family house turned upside down. They’d been burgled. The burglars had been rather smart too. They managed to find and expertly extract all the valuables — from watches to televisions to PlayStations.

The Police came and did the usual. They looked around. They didn’t take any fingerprints. There’s no point. They could tell it was a professional job. They just consoled my friend’s mother and gave her a crime reference number for the insurance.

Thankfully, the family was insured.

That, unfortunately, is when the second wind — the second nightmare — arrived. The sodding insurance company made it as difficult as possible.

Not many people know this — but if you’re trying to claim a item on your insurance, you typically have to supply proof of purchase. Or if you don’t have that readily available, a model and serial number will do.

I tell you now, I don’t know the serial numbers of anything I own.

I could *probably* tell you the details of my Apple Macs, simply because I got an electronic receipt from the Apple Store so I could search the information via Gmail.

My friend’s mother was outraged — the insurance company was incredibility difficult, refusing to reimburse the full amount because she had no proof of purchase, and no serial number records. Indeed, as the family began adding up the value of everything that had been stolen, they realised they were dramatically underinsured. By something like 30-40 thousand pounds.

When you count your flatscreen TVs, PlayStations, laptops, computers, iPads and array of iPhones, that figure can easily come to well over 10k before you’ve got to jewels, watches and so on.

Eventually the family managed to reach an understanding with the insurance company. But the family lost out, big time.

It was a lesson to my friend. The family now keeps the receipts and serial numbers of all important purchases — just in case.

I remember remarking that it’s a shame there’s no online system to help you do this.

That got my friend thinking.

He and his brother started doing research. They hunted far and wide — and they couldn’t find anything that their mother could use to track valuables, serial numbers, replacement costs and so on.

There were some systems out there — and some desktop software applications — that could be co-opted for the purpose. But Richard and Tom wanted an online solution that did the job.

They specified out the system. They began the build. Then they came to me with the concept.

I liked it a lot. So I invested in the concept — took it under our EventScope brand and it’s just gone live.

If you’d like to have a look, I encourage you to visit (it does what it says on the tin).

You can keep updated with the team via Twitter (@myhomecontents). And we’d all very much welcome a ‘like’ from you on Facebook:

The service costs £5 per year — and if you use the code ‘fivek’, you’ll get an extra year free.

There’s a mobile angle. At least, there will be. The chaps are working away on that idea right now — the ability to be able to scan the barcode of each product and store it easily along with a photo and other details, straight from your Smartphone.

The first and most important part of the system was establishing the web version.

What do you think of the concept?

Here’s the obligatory Youtube tutorial video:

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

15 replies on “MyHomeContents: One of my new projects”

The website says £12/yr!!! I wanna complain to the management!!!

…and what’s up with the whalesong in the video? I felt like I was in an ad for crystals or homeopathy 😉

‘SMS text news’ [zombie lurches from vault, moaning about Voda360 and walled gardens]

iPhone app coming soon? That’ll cater for about 4% of your potential customers then 🙂

You need a J2ME app if you actually want to be useful to people. I recommend the LWUIT UI library, will make the whole thing much easier…

I suspect we’ll do the usual, as you point out Alex, and highly restricted
the audience by going with an iPhone 4 app. As it’s cheaper to build!

For sure. I’ve given up on the rest but the need hasn’t gone away so I will definitely take it for a test drive.

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