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Technology is changing the way we plan and carry out a funeral

Posted by AK Lander | On September 15, 2016 13:12

For centuries, funeral services in all cultures have been solemn, traditional affairs. Paying respects and saying our goodbyes to our departed loved ones often follows a normal protocol and involves common elements.

As technology advances and as distances become shorter thanks to the internet, it was inevitable that funerals would eventually be affected by the progress. Hi-tech touches are becoming more and more common. Music is being updated, new ways of creating gravestones are being developed, and burial practices are all changing.

Technology is changing funerals and there are now a number of new, innovative services that have been created to enhance the way we honour death in the UK and around the world.

Here are some interesting ways technology is changing funerals:

Live Streaming of Funerals

At several Newcastle funeral homes, they have been installing live streaming services to help far and away friends and relatives view funeral services. The funeral directors reported that requests to use Skype or other services have steadily increased over the last few years.

Several start-up businesses have been developed to meet the demand for attending a funeral when you’re unable to physically. One Room is a fully-automated, funeral webcasting system that can be used for enhancing services for those who live too far way. The system will also record the services as it live streams.

One Room will also contact friends and family with service invitations and instructions. It also provides 90 days of private access so loved ones can say a private farewell when they see fit. Some can choose to watch the service when they feel they are ready. The service is currently available for funerals in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but may be the perfect solution for family members in the UK to be part of the remembrance being held abroad.

Digital Legacies

There are millions upon millions of Facebook users on the planet and most of them keep their most treasured memories and thoughts inside the workings of the social network. Recently, the company has been educating users about what happens to the Facebook accounts of the deceased.

But with the ever-growing popularity of social media, there are now several digital companies that allow you to set up online memorials, as well as ways for the deceased to send loving messages after they have departed.

Dead Social endeavours to be a complete social network to help people understand and express themselves through digital end-of-life planning. It offers tutorials, helpful guides, resources and most recent news in the area of digital legacies.

At Afternote, people create, store and maintain their last wishes for after they pass. Users can manage information about friends and family, create a life story, leave personal messages behind, record their final farewell, and more. 

Another similar venture, Afterword, allows you to send private messages, maintain important financial information, passwords and pins. It too lets you record video and audio messages that can be made available after death.

BCelebrated allows you to create your legacy website. Your words, photos and audio can be shared with whomever you choose. Users can even make their site password protected to make it a truly personal expression of love and remembrance. The founders of the company wanted to create a way for a global network of friends and family to be part of the grieving process and as a way to help say goodbye.


Other funeral-tech tools

With the help of laptops, iPhones and tablets, people have been finding ways to add personal touches to their funeral experiences.

By using Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote, you can create memorial presentations that mix video, photographs, text and animation. They can be a one-a-kind tribute to a loved one at the funeral. More importantly, the memorial presentation can be shared with others to cherish afterwards.

The use of iTunes and streaming services such as Spotify to create customised funeral playlists has changed the way we look at funeral music and personal expression. A recent poll amongst funeral directors showed there are definite musical preferences in the UK and those are being expressed through bespoke playlists. Families are joining together to create the ultimate musical tribute and sharing them as a way of honouring a loved one.

More than just multimedia tools, technology is helping us plan funerals as well. Whether it be email systems to manage funeral invitations, funeral planning software and hi-tech ways to treat one’s ashes, such as launching them into space, our advanced society is finding ways to enhance and improve upon one of the oldest human practices on the planet.