The funeral industry perhaps is not an area you would expect technology to make a huge impact. Steeped in tradition and religious ceremony, the funeral industry has been slow to adopt new technologies.
However, traditional religious funerals are being shunned in favour of more personalized and unique services that still give people the opportunity to say farewell and celebrate the life of someone much loved, but in novel, more modern ways. And such services are increasingly incorporating different technologies.
Perhaps the most noticeable shift has been the use of video streaming technology to live-stream services for those unable to attend. Although many funeral venues were already equipped with the technology, its use increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.
Long-distance video technology such as Skype and Zoom enabled family and friends to ‘dial in’ and watch the service, and to say goodbye to their loved ones remotely. For those not up-to-speed with video technology, there is an increasing number of professional services able to stream and record funeral services, much like you would see at a wedding ceremony.
And just like you would plan a wedding, it is important to think about planning your own funeral to ensure you get the send-off you deserve. A funeral plan can help you arrange your funeral – and pay for it – in advance, so when the time comes your family has nothing to worry about.
You can organize everything from the type of service you would like – including the option to stream the service – whether you want to be buried or cremated, and where you want the wake to be held, and whether you want that to be online too!
Technology can even be incorporated into your final resting place; gravestones now feature embedded technology that gives graveside visitors an interactive experience. NFC-enabled microchips or QR codes fixed in the stone can be scanned by visitors, who are linked to a website all about their loved ones.
Such online memorial websites work like a digital cemetery and can be customized to present images and videos, even music playlists. They can be particularly helpful for those unable to visit the graveside.
We share so much of our lives on social media these days that it is perhaps a natural progression that technology is also changing the way we memorialise our loved ones and the legacies they leave behind.
Social media companies such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to convert your accounts into memorialised accounts that cannot be changed by anyone. This means memories, photos and videos can still be viewed by those connected to you or your loved ones and protects the identity of the deceased.
Your funeral plan or will is an ideal place to explain what you would like to happen to your digital life upon your death but remember to include all your social media accounts and passwords.
Although perhaps slow to start, the funeral industry has benefited from incorporating technological advances; not only have these advances increased the options for how and where funerals can be held, they have changed the way we celebrate our loved one’s lives, and how we memorialise them afterwards.