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Wednesday
Feb022011

Death in a Digital World: Company Offers Funeral Webcasts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ST. CLAIR, Mich.) -- Death in the digital age means always being able to say goodbye. In the same way that memorial services for Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy and the six people killed Jan. 8 in Tucson became Web events, FuneralOne, a Michigan-based company, enables any funeral to be broadcast live on the Internet.

"The idea of funeral webcasting was never meant to be about replacing people actually attending the funeral," said Joe Joachim, CEO of FuneralOne. "What it was really made for was to give people a chance to connect with family and friends and be part of that experience for those that could not afford to attend."

Videos of services can be archived so others can watch it later, even multiple times.

This is mourning in the digital age, and it's becoming a big business. In 2008, 126 funeral homes offered webcasts through FuneralOne. By the end of 2010, that number had climbed to 1,053.

Joachim said he doesn't have an obsession with death, just good business.

"I'm not a funeral director," he said. "I'm not from a funeral background whatsoever. Really, if you look at it at the end of the day, I like solving big problems. I'm always driven by creating products that can change the world and improve lives.'

"The ultimate definition of that is...if we can change what people are doing in the death care space, which is traditional by all means," Joachim said. "And if we can figure out how to create change in that industry, then we can do it anywhere."

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