The Times They Are A-Changin'
Today, life seems to be moving even faster when it comes to communication and making things more convenient. Let’s take a look back at how recent innovations have shaped how the funeral industry (and the rest of the world) conducts business today.
While Email has been around since 1993, no technology changed communication more than email - with the ability to share images, files, videos, documents, links, etc. like no other method. In today’s world, a phone call may be personal but an email is more convenient. Families and funeral homes can regularly share information with a paper trail to reinforce communication.
Google changed how we search for things – from businesses and phone numbers to addresses and specific details. In order to draw business, funeral homes must market and position themselves strategically through this system. Incorporated in 1998, Google went public in 2004.
The “Smart” phone, now known more for texting, information gathering and photo taking than actually voice talking, revolutionized the instant mobile communication world. More and more people use their phone to search for information while using this as their sole device for communication – email, texting, phone calls, etc. Texting debuted in 2000 and the first photo image was taken in 2002.
Social Media: Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005) and Twitter (2006) have transformed the way we communicate while simultaneously creating a stronghold of user-generated content. As people communicate and share information, they also share reviews, opinions and experiences, all which business must be attuned to in order to maintain a positive reputation.
Apple iTunes (2003) created a common reputable online store that shaped how people accessed music and legally connected them to the music industry. Like YouTube for video, iTunes has helped with popular music making it easy to download and share. Funeral homes must be licensed in order to use popular music while being very careful to not allow families to synchronize this in their making of Tribute Videos unless they receive legal permission.
GPS (Global Positioning System), used by the military and navy since 1983, today, it allows everyone the ability to travel, mark and locate places more efficiently – including identifying graves and their locations. Made available to the public in May, 2000.
File Sharing – While Napster (remember them?) laid the groundwork for peer-to-peer (P2P) application architecture back in 1999, today, the ability to send large files has made it possible to upload photos, video and other information without limitation. Dropbox, Hightail and Google Drive lead the field in allowing the exchange of information.
USB (UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS) Flash Drive – Introduced in 1996, the USB drive only developed true value DVD’s and CD discs began to lose their popularity. This has been precipitated by the ability to video stream online or download along with file sharing. In addition, USB flash drive is more portable, rewritable, accessible, and offers a huge storage capacity (up to256 GB) over DVDs and CDs. IN fact, one cannot get a disc drive for their computer without a specific request. In time, it’s expected to go the way of the floppy disc, cassette tape and VHS tape.
What else is out there? How about Wi-Fi, cloud-based storage and 3D printing? And these are just a sampling of what’s out there! Each and every one of these things will drive consumer habits and society’s acceptance to change with it. As business people, there really isn’t any choice but to change with them, making sure you address your customers and family’s needs, maintain your quality of expected service and help them through that change.
Using Google on my smartphone, I searched for this Bob Dylan song and its lyrics. I then found the YouTube video and iTunes song to listen to as well. And obviously, I used email to send this Blog!
True to his words, ‘The times, they are a changing.”