Sunday, March 4, 2012

New App Can Arrange Cremations

Virginians will be able to set up a cremation on their smartphones, thanks to an app from the Cremation Society of Virginia.

"They can go through their phone via the app to arrange the cremation," said Sally Briggs, the company's general manager.

"Some people don't have computers or might not have access to a computer," she noted.

And an increasing number of consumers are using smartphones, she said.

The Richmond-based service believes it is the first cremation society to have such an application for mobile devices.

Its new app is designed to educate family members, caregivers such as hospice workers, and clergy about the cremation process, the Cremation Society said. It is available on iPhone, Android and Windows operating systems.

"The best service we can offer those interested in cremation is to provide information in a timely and professional manner that helps them through a very difficult period in their life," Briggs said in a statement.

"The public is expecting to have their information needs met in various ways, and our industry is no different from others in that we need to respond to what people want," she said. "We will continue to offer our traditional personal service but are responding to the needs of a tech-savvy public."

The app walks individuals through the steps necessary at the time of an individual's death, the Cremation Society said, as well as providing information on Virginia rules regarding cremations and funeral services.

It allows families to plan cremations online, either in advance or at the time of death. The app also offers directions and contact information.

Using the program, clients can even buy cremation services through the company's online store and read the latest national obituary news via RSS webfeed.

The free app was created by Award Web Service of Richmond using AppSoEasy.

Though the Cremation Society does not release the number of cremations it performs, the firm considers itself to be the largest provider of cremation services in the state.

More than a quarter of Virginians choose cremation rather than burial, the company said.


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