What exactly is a virtual funeral?
THE future is here - you can now live stream a funeral as a virtual guest from a Ballina funeral home.
Ballina's Guardian Funerals has begun to offer the OneRoom automated webcasting service - which allows family and friends to watch a funeral online from anywhere by streaming high quality footage of the service via the internet.
The technology's focus is to allow loved ones to attend a funeral as if they were sitting there in the room and provide people with the opportunity to connect, share and remember.
Guardian Funerals and White Lady Funerals Ballina area manager Scott Veivers said the new fully automated OneRoom webcasting system can record and live stream funeral services at the new multi-purpose White Lady Funerals and Guardian Funerals venue.
"The reaction from our families has been overwhelmingly positive," he said.
"It provides a service we weren't previously able to, as we can now give our families the opportunity to live stream the service to family and friends that are too far away or unwell. The state-of-the-art AV and webcasting facilities ensure we can better service the needs of our families.
Most families use the webcasting technology to record the service and live streaming is becoming increasingly popular when family friends are unable to attend the service.
"When family and friends are overseas or interstate, or are unable to travel due to illness or may be in an Aged Care facility it's a perfect service," he said.
"They can still feel involved in the service and ae able to support the family through their presence and also help their own grieving at the loss of a loved one.
"The additional live streaming service is $150 Plus GST. All the family needs to do is provide an email address for the live stream."
A number of cameras have been installed into the White Lady Funerals and Guardian Funerals venue to provide different viewing options, from a close-up shot of the lectern to the faces of the people attending.
Once a service has been scheduled, email invitations are sent out with secure login details, allowing people to access the service or event using the internet. When the service is scheduled to start, the cameras turn on automatically and record for the allotted time. The footage is streamed live, and recorded to be viewed in 'real time' or following the service using the same login details. The software is accessible, secure and easy to use.
OneRoom's David Lutterman said making funeral services accessible online, live or later no one has to miss it.
"It's popularity is growing each year," he said.
"In 2018, over 80,000 people tuned-in to a virtual funeral for a loved one using its webcasting service, almost a 50 per cent increase on 2017.
"OneRoom live-streams have been watched in 163 countries and Australian are adopting online funerals at swift rates. In 2018, OneRoom streamed almost eleven thousand funeral services, an 84 percent growth over 2017."