Four webcams and a funeral - death goes high-tech
Wednesday 21 January 2009
Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service in central Ohio has gone high-tech with the business of grief: It is one of a growing number of funeral service providers to embrace the web.
Schoedinger is offering live web streaming and archived online video for use by military personnel overseas and others who cannot be present for a loved one's funeral.
It's a way for mourners to take part in the experience without the time and expense of a long-distance trip, especially one arranged on short notice.
"This just allows people to share in the grief and share in the grief experience with everyone," company President Michael Schoedinger said.
The family organising the funeral controls who has access to the private website used for broadcasting. The company offers the service for free but eventually may charge a fee to cover its costs, Schoedinger said.
Funeral directors say better technology and cheaper equipment have prompted more funeral homes to offer webcasting and videotaping services nationwide.
It's also been more appealing as the internet has become part of everyday life for many Americans domestically and abroad, said Ellery Bowker, the president of North Carolina-based Director's Advantage, which specialises in technological products for the funeral industry and debuted its webcasting service last year.
The service allowed one soldier in Iraq to watch his grandmother's funeral in North Carolina, Bowker said. In another case, comrades of a soldier who died overseas were able to view his memorial in the U.S.
The use of funeral webcasting is an emerging trend but hasn't been tracked statistically, though some companies have offered those services for years, said Jessica Koth, a spokeswoman for the National Funeral Director's Association.
Webcasting companies are also jumping in, offering packages to funeral homes that include tripods, cameras with microphones, and cables and cords, either for lease or purchase outright. Some ceremonies can even be webcast to iPods.
The Jenkins-Soffe Funeral Chapels and Cremation Centre in suburban Salt Lake City began offering funeral webcasts about a decade ago as a way to include overseas missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their relatives' funerals, owner Kurt Soffe said.
The centre's funeral packages, which include webcasting, video and audio recording, typically cost about $300 more than other packages. About one in every 50 funerals at the centre opts for the multimedia, he said.
"I think that it will become much more popular in the years ahead - much more popular in the sense that more funeral homes will offer it," Soffe said. "Whether more families will select it and choose it, I don't know, because there is really no substitute for coming together as a family."
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst (App...
£35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engine...
£32000 - £38000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Serv...
£38000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Virt...