It seems that Benjamin Franklin’s old saying hasn’t lost any relevance in the internet age, but just who could have predicted the potential of the online market for undertaker services?
Since May 2001, Austrian website begraebnis.at has been offering live webcasts of funerals. The advantages of this cannot be dismissed! Relatives and guests can save on travel costs and don’t even have to take a day off work in order to pay their respects. Maybe the preacher could even embellish his sermon with PowerPoint slides?
But the industry hasn’t stopped there: death notices and obituaries can now be published on the web and there are virtual cemeteries that list the names of the deceased. B2B sites offer wholesale coffins, urns and tombstones, ‘tactfully’ helping undertakers set themselves apart from the competition and gain new customers. Competition between online funeral firms is so rife, we’re even seeing a price war.
Other IT industries could surely get a piece of the action. After all, cemeteries have been ‘IT free’ for long enough and you must concede that DSL connections at most graveyards leave a lot to be desired. So how about integrating a CAD tool (Grave3D?), so that tombstones and flower decorations can be planned and ordered online as well? Or a webcam allowing the bereaved to watch their flowers fade or ensure robbers don’t steal the headstone? With barcode technology, RFID and GPS, a modern funeral parlour could even go in for some “Corpse Tracking”.
This blog was inspired by a series called “Dr. T.’s consultancy”, so many thanks to Dr. Thomas Hafen of Channelpartner.