Four webcams and a funeral - death goes high-tech

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."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker - OTE £20,000

    £14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An office based Appointment Mak...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Junior

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - North West

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - South West

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent