Most funeral directors are aware of webcasting, or Internet streaming. This communication transport has been with us for many years in one form or another. In fact, a growing number of funeral homes provide private live webcasting of their funeral and memorial services direct from their chapel.
So what’s the shift in mobile technology? In brief, it is how consumers, your customers, are accessing the Internet. People are now using a variety of mobile devices to access the internet, movies, TV, sports activities, Google, YouTube, and communicate using providers like Skype, in steadily increasing numbers.
On October 17, 2013, Google CEO Larry Page speaking to Google’s continued growth noted,” For years, everyone talked about the multiscreen world. Now it has arrived, but on a scale few imagined.” Page continued by saying, “More than one billion Android devices have been activated worldwide, and 1.5 million are lit up each day.”
Regarding YouTube, Page said, “Today, some 40% of YouTube’s traffic comes from mobile, compared to 25% last year and just 6% in 2011. Just 6% of YouTube’s traffic came from mobile two years ago!” This is a 34% increase in mobile device activity on YouTube alone. Mobile devices mean major revenue for Facebook. Mobile ads now count for nearly half of all Facebook’s ad revenue.
How far-reaching is the consumer change to mobile? The fourth-quarter numbers released on Thursday, January 9, 2014 by the research firms Gartner and International Data Corp serve as the latest testament to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers. The mobile devices are typically less expensive than PCs and more convenient to use than clunky desktops, making them appealing alternatives to go online for work, entertainment, information and communications. For all of last year (2013), PC sales plunged 10%, according to both Gartner and IDC. It marks the seventh consecutive quarter of decreasing PC sales.
Consumer demands are changing, too. As mobile viewing has increased, so has consumer interest for more “on demand” content. Consumers want to watch streaming media when they want, and on whatever device they want to use. Networks and cable operators are responding by providing their viewers with mobile TV content on demand for popular shows like Duck Dynasty and Storage Wars.
What does this mobile shift mean to your funeral home? Webcasting to the mobile consumer is paramount in staying abreast of changing trends in technology in the funeral home industry. The shift in communication is a great opportunity for funeral homes to provide webcasting services that can be viewed from anywhere. Funeral homes will soon find that their viewing audience is not necessarily at home sitting at their desktop. Viewers could be using an Ipad at a “Wifi Hot Spot” miles from your funeral home, or watching the service on their Iphone while pulled over at a highway rest area, or viewing it from halfway around the world.
Sophisticated applications (apps) are not required for customers to view a funeral service from a funeral home when using a mobile device. Funeral service viewers can navigate their mobile device to the Internet, connect to a webpage and click a hyperlink to view the streaming media of an archived service.
Different mobile devices support different file types, so providing archived and “on demand” viewing in various formats from a proven communication method is now more important than ever. Being able to access an Internet site, with links for easily identified formats, appeals to a wide age segment of the population.
With more consumers using the Internet it becomes extremely important for funeral home owners and directors to keep abreast of the continuing shift in technologies. A recent Pew study showed: “Today 69% of online adults — representing more than half of the entire adult population in the United States — use an online social network of some kind. On a typical day nearly half of all adult Internet users access a social networking site,” the study’s authors wrote. Nearly two-thirds of people aged 50-64 are now on Facebook, according to another Pew study. This equates to a significant rise in the demographic profile of funeral service customers using mobile devices and networking.
Providing the mechanism for consumers to be able to view funeral services of loved ones, using mobile technology, is a vital component in communicating your dedication to the funeral home experience. FBA
Colin Hay is a partner in Webcasting Central LLC and Webcasting Professionals with offices in Winnipeg, MB and Kansas City, KS. Colin has decades of experience in photography, video photography, streaming media, webcasting, encoding, video and multimedia. He can be reached at 866-851=5809, email [email protected] You can visit their website at www.webcastingcentral.com.