Friday, June 01, 2007

Living memory at the cemetery

The funeral industry is catching on with innovations. Recently I attended the funeral of a deceased loved one. I was confronted with an innovation at the funeral parlour, where you could rent an apartment for some days to stay with the deceased; shower, tea and coffee included. But the smartest innovation was the trip with a funeral bus; a special coach in which the coffin is put, around which the children can sit. In this case there was a requiem mass celebrated in a church in the centre of a city. As this place was very hard to reach by car and as it was even harder to park a car in the neighbourhood, a bus was chosen for transport from the funeral parlour to the church and later to the crematorium. The bus followed by another coach with mourners drew quite some attention from the shopping public.

But now funeral industry has entered also the digital era. On internet there were already sites, devoted to the memory of a deceased one, and condolences sites. A Dutch funeral service even set up in Second Life. Now the tomb stone industry has discovered the digital era and has designed a tomb with a screen to keep the memory of a loved one alive on the cemetery. The screen, working on sun energy, shows movies and pictures. A security system, consisting of special batteries or a remote control, can activate the screen system for family and relatives.

The idea comes from Mr Henk Rozema, who got the idea when he made a DVD for his 65th anniversary with scanned photographs. He showed this DVD to his family and friends during the celebration, many people present asked a copy of the DVD "for later". This gave Rozema the idea to combine a screen with a tomb stone. Together with a tomb stone constructor Steenhouwerij Rijtink he realised the tomb stone with screen.

This is private narrowcasting on a cemetery. Although movies can be played in the screen, the developers expect that next of kin will produce a series of photographs, covering the life of the deceased. Movies will be too emotional the developers think. Of course a new series of photographs or movies can be loaded in at any time.

This might be a start of a new branch to the funeral industry with programmers, content producers and (remote) system managers.

Blog Posting Number: 771


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