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FuneralCasting in the 21st Century
JANUARY 25, 2011 TAGS:
Funerals from AfarFrom a technical perspective, web-casting a funeral is not difficult. Just take a laptop and point it at the service and either connect through facebook or any number of video teleconferencing services. But for the funeral industry, which prides itself on providing meaningful experiences to families facing emotionally draining times, technological incursions like video run the double risk of de-sanctifying an august occasion and offending those in attendance who might feel that funerals, the ultimate family occasion, should be private.
It's for good reason that the funeral industry is slow to change. The ubiquity of video on the internet, however, has sped the industry's rate of change. A year ago, Gizmodo deemed funeral webcasting either horrifying or "totally horrifying."
Today, Laura M. Holson reports in New York Times that it's increasingly popular
Traveling to funerals was once an important family rite, but with greater secularity and a mobile population increasingly disconnected from original hometowns, watching a funeral online can seem better than not going to a funeral at all. Social media, too, have redrawn the communal barriers of what is acceptable when relating to parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances.
“We are in a YouTube society now,” said H. Joseph Joachim IV, founder of FuneralOne. “People are living more than ever online, and this reflects that.”
FuneralOne presents a fascinating case. It’s a provider of technological funeral products and hopes to define the bleeding edge of what a 21st century funeral home can provide: life Tribute videos, memorial Web sites and funeral web casting.
The old guard of funeral industry giants, who specialize in casket manufacturing and sales, are stacking their services with online options as well. Batesville, the nation’s largest casket company (it sells 45% of caskets in the U.S.), partnered with Legacy.com in 2009 to add online services, including memorial pages and video tributes to its offerings. Matthews International ($20.6 million net income in 2010) offers a suite of products intended to help funeral home web sites live-cast funerals and build online memorials.
In essence, the very idea of the casket is changing. The deceased can be contained in a variety of receptacles, but none so interactive as the Internet.
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