Funeral Planning: How High-Tech is Too High-Tech?
At iMortuary, we often celebrate all the ways technology is changing the funeral industry. From webcasted funerals and online funeral planning support to helpful, informative funeral websites like ours, technology has made it possible for families to reduce funeral costs, discover unique funeral ideas, and connect with friends who might live too far away to attend the memorial service in person.
Of course, technology rarely stops at just a few innovative ideas—even in the death industry. High-tech headstones seem to be the next big thing to hit the funeral market.
There has already been some talk of using QR codes on headstones as a way to send visitors at a cemetery to online memorial pages. While not the most aesthetic option, this idea allows people to learn more about the deceased than the limited, few short words of parting engraved into stone. You can visit a memorial website, sign in to a guest book, watch videos, and otherwise interact online through the QR code portal.
The E-Tomb, a Bluetooth-enabled, solar-powered headstone, takes this idea one step further. In this prototype, the headstone itself functions as a kind of computer. Information storage devices and Bluetooth transmitters in the headstone would allow those visiting the gravesite to access information using their smartphones. The available information includes social media sites the deceased maintained while alive (blogs, Facebook, Twitter) as well as memorial websites, photos, and videos.
Because the E-Tomb includes a solar panel across the top, it can be run without requiring a hookup, and a Bluetooth Key in the front allows families to edit the information while keeping it secure from others.
Does the Funeral Industry Need this Much Information?
While the E-Tomb is an exciting idea for anyone who wants their memory to live on long after they have parted this world, it brings up the question of how connected do we want to be to the technology age. One of the best things about visiting a cemetery is the timelessness of it—historic cemeteries have become tourist sites for a reason. There is something about being able to walk through time to view the past that speaks to us on a deeper level. The quiet ambiance of a cemetery—where we can step away from technology to make a more personal connection—is something many people look forward to when visiting a deceased relative.
Whether or not a technology-based headstone can stand the same test of time is a question we have yet to answer. For some people, this extra layer of accessibility is one that will allow the deceased to live on in unique and exciting ways. For others, it’s more of a fad than a long-term solution.
Whatever your beliefs on the use of technology in cemeteries, one thing remains true—funeral planning offers exciting new possibilities for a new age.