Digital Signage and the Funeral Home

October 25, 2009
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image A part of improving any business is staying up to date with technological advances. Astonishingly, with all the talk in personalization in the funeral industry, one aspect that has been largely ignored is the lobby directory or lobby signage. The technology has stayed the same for decades; impersonal and unattractive. With a digital lobby directory, service information is displayed in a professional and personalized manner, complete with a photo of the deceased. If your funeral home is still printing service information on paper or worse yet, messing with plastic letters and a felt board, it?s time for a change.

What is digital signage?

Digital signage is a form of electronic display that delivers relevant, useful information in a format that attracts a visitor?s attention. Digital signage displays may be LCD, LED or plasma screens. When used in a funeral home to display service information, digital signage is referred to as a ?digital directory.?

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Are digital directory systems expensive?

Falling prices on flat-panel video displays and easy-to-use, web-based software has made this digital signage technology within reach of the funeral home industry. What used to cost thousands of dollars to deploy, can now be purchased for under $500 without installing expensive network wiring. Directories can be updated locally with re-useable flash memory cards.

What equipment is needed for a directory system?

A digital directory system consists of a video display and a digital media player to display the content. The media player is usually mounted on the back of the video display. If the directory is going to be wall mounted, a wall-mounting bracket will be required. Stands are also available when wall space is limited.

Custom framing can also be added to disguise the video display as a picture frame for funeral homes concerned about aesthetics. A wide variety of frame styles and colors are available to enhance your funeral home decor.

What content can be displayed?

?Content? in the context of digital signage is used to describe anything displayed on the screen. Content can be anything, including animations, texts, images, audio and video. Funeral home content usually includes the viewing room name (i.e. Chapel A), decedent?s name, decedent?s photo and the service information. This information can be displayed over a solid color, gradient color or a ?theme? background. An example of a theme background would be the decedent is a veteran and the content is displayed over an American flag background.

How do I create the content?

Content can be created in Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Paint, although creating content for a multiple visitation digital announcement can get complicated. With Photoshop, the program is costly and has a sharp learning curve. A better alternative is with available web-based software that?s been developed for the funeral industry. Personalized and professional looking images for the digital directory can be created in minutes by anyone, from any computer with Internet access. Best of all, there are no graphic skills required and you?re assured you always have the most up-to-date version. The software can create announcements that can display visitation information for up to four concurrent visitations on one screen.

What area in the funeral home can benefit from digital signage technology?

Most funeral homes usually will have a main lobby directory that directs visitors when they enter the funeral home. When changing to a digital directory system, the signage can consist of one large directory or multiple smaller directories that are installed together. With the multi-directory configuration, unused directories can be utilized for informational purposes (i.e. hours of operation) or for promotional purposes (i.e. pre-need services, history of the funeral home etc.).

Another area that can benefit from smaller digital signage is adjacent to the visitation room, which will help identify the room location. Above the register bookstand is another area that can benefit. Smaller digital signage displays can also be used to help visitors find their destinations to areas in the funeral home.

The coffee lounge is a great area to display promotional content because you?ll have a captive audience. Custom content can be created to promote and inform your visitors about the services your funeral home offers.

Funeral homes that have embraced this technology are reporting that families feel a sense of comfort when entering the funeral home for the first viewing, and then seeing a photo of their loved one displayed on the digital directory. Visitors often compliment funeral home staff on directories and how they have been personalized. Funeral homes need every advantage in this competitive climate. When your competition has embraced this technology and your firm chooses to stay with the status quo, it just might be the difference in whether the call stays with your firm or goes to your competitor.

About Author:

Jeff McCauley is the President of Legacy Directory. He can be contacted at 800.270.1237, or by email at jeff@legacydirectory.com.

Article Originally Published in Funeral Business Advisor (Oct 09)

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

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