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MANILA, Philippines - Funeral parlors in the Philippines are increasingly taking advantage of the latest technologies to launch services into the virtual world.
Industry players launch products and services online — coffins included — through their websites and social media pages so families and friends can make their choices before a death or to virtually participate in the mourning.
“It’s a platform for people to mourn and not necessarily have to be there,” said Rafael S. Jose, president of Arlington Memorial Chapels & Crematory.
Arlington Memorial has started offering the option to create a personalized Quick Response code or QR code to accompany their funeral service package.
The marker that looks like a square-shaped barcode can be placed on any flat surface and, when scanned by any electronic device with a smart code reader, launches a website or multimedia collection of information about the deceased.
Ths QR code can be printed not only on obituaries, photos and invitations but on tombstones as well, allowing visitors to be taken on a multimedia journey of the person’s life while at the gravesite.
The sky is the limit with this virtual memorial space. Families and friends can upload photos, video, music and literature that can be presented as a picture-based timeline of the life lived by their deceased loved one.
Visitors can even send messages of condolence to the family years after the person has passed away.
This latest form of technology that has been used mostly for advertisement purposes has been a growing trend in the US and UK since early 2011.
It has now reached the Philippines.
The quest to make memorials more accessible to a globally-dispersed population has also found its way to social media.
Funeral parlors’ websites are designed to include the ability to share online obituaries and other services on Facebook.
Arlington’s website is social media-friendly so friends and families can read and take part in an online memorial.
Live webcasts of funeral services and wakes have also become add-on services catering mostly to the large population of Filipinos working overseas or emigrants who may not have the financial means or time to fly back home at short notice in the event of a loved one's sudden death.
St. Peter’s Life Plan and Chapels offers live streaming of these events.
Arlington pre-sells funeral products and services using tablets like the iPad.
Arlington’s Jose said the device provides prospective clients a detached way of exploring the different services on offer without having to face the full reality of viewing the physical caskets.
“We don’t take people to see the caskets until we’ve given them the presentation and we’re sure they are ready for it.
"We use an iPad presentation before that to conduct the consultancy,” said Jose.
Before and after death, the virtual world comes in handy. - Rappler.com
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