New technology being used at UK funerals

22 October 2015

We recently conducted some research which revealed that 1 in 3 funerals now includes a technological aspect, with the majority of these featuring ‘video calls’ for those unable to attend.

Funeral technology

The majority of those who responded to the poll revealed that they felt technology would have an increasing role in funerals in years to come. 

The study polled 2,145 British adults, all of whom were aged 18 or over, with an even gender split. All participants were required to have attended a funeral within the last 18 months.

Initially, we asked participants ‘Have you been to a funeral in which technology played a role within the last 18 months?’ We asked them not to include music played through a CD or MP3 player when answering. 1 in 3 (32%) of respondents revealed that they had been to a funeral in the past 18 months where technology was used in some way.

We then asked those respondents to reveal what the technology was at the event. Respondents were able to select all answers that were applicable, which revealed the below top 5:

  1. Video call – 21%
  2. Memorial videos - 19%
  3. Digital order of service – 15%
  4. Music streamed – 13%
  5. Photobooth – 4%

All relevant respondents were asked to reveal what effect the technology had on the service. A majority of respondents said that it had a positive effect, with almost half of these saying that it had a positive effect because it brought distant friends and family together and involved them in the service.

Those who had experienced the use of ‘video calls’ during a funeral were asked to reveal why this had been done. A majority of respondents said that it had been done so that those living abroad or far away could share the day to remember their loved one.

All respondents were asked to reveal whether they felt comfortable with the use of technology in funerals, to which a majority of 59% revealed that they did not. Three quarters of these felt it was ‘too disruptive’.

Finally, the survey asked all respondents whether they thought the role of technology in funerals would increase in years to come. A majority said that they thought that it would. When asked how they thought this would be so, 21% said that they believed holograms of the deceased would be used in funerals in the future.

With digital developments comes a rise in the involvement of technology in funerals. Some may feel uncomfortable with this, but it certainly adds a whole new element to someone’s final farewell.

A funeral is a tough time for everyone involved, so it’s nice for those living abroad or far away to share in the event in some form, even if it is via a video link. As for holograms at funerals, we think that’s a few decades away yet!