Our Customers Said...
David Garvie, General Manager, Ogden Funeral Homes Limited, Ontario, Canada
'"The Ogden Funeral Home is located in the very heart of Scarborough, Ontario and it truly is a very multicultural community with people re-locating here from all over the world. It is fascinating to be able to witness and participate in their unique customs, religious ceremonies, and various meaningful passages of rites as their various global communities come together; family, relatives and friends to recognize the loss of an individual and celebrate his/her life. Unlike many of our older Canadian families who have shifted away from traditional funerals, these families continue to embrace and understand the importance of tradition, the importance of ceremony, the importance and value of coming together to grieve as a group and as individuals allowing for closure to the relationship between themselves and one who has died and to assist them with moving with their lives in a healthy manner. Unfortunately, either due to time elements, the current cost of travel or the difficulty in being able to obtain the various necessary documents that would allow them to exit their country of origin, many individuals are unable to come to Canada to be a part of these very important moments and rituals. So when Dale Moses and Michael Macalpine approached us with their idea to broadcast these special moments in time via a software program called DistantLink; we were definitely interested in the concept. We were told that our families could have multiple members of their families and friends located anywhere in the world be present via the Internet for the times of visitation and funeral ceremony. We were further informed that all these individuals would be able to see one another, talk to one another just as if they were all together in the same room. If indeed this would work, then we wanted to make this product available to the families of Scarborough. Dale and Michael provided us with a demonstration and as they say, “the rest is history”.
Dale stated, “If you can run “Facebook” you can run this program and the equipment connected to it”, and it was true. Unlike a somewhat similar but less stable viewing technique known as Skype, this program was different in that it would allow us bring online upwards of 100 or more individuals from different locations around the world at any one time for prolonged periods of time. It offered the ability for those participating to view, speak, listen, text and if necessary use an Internet telephone to communicate anywhere there was Internet capabilities around the globe. To be honest the most challenging part of the whole program has been working with Bell to get our internet installed.
To date we have brought together and connected family and friends from Australia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Korea, England, France, Germany, Japan, Ireland and South Africa. I think I will always remember the moment when a woman came online 45 minutes prior to the broadcast time, as we were still setting up the equipment. We paused what we were doing and asked her who she was, and where she was at the moment. She responded back that she was in Ireland, but could not get her passport and other required documents together in time to come to the visitation or funeral. I then asked her what her relationship was to the person that we were broadcasting, and she informed me that it was her mother. At that point we all stopped what we were doing and I asked our DistantLink team to zoom in on the deceased person in the casket so the daughter and mother could have some time together before the other relatives arrived. It was indeed a very touching moment, and it made me realize the incredible opportunity that existed through this new DistantLink technology. This particular family had some very special moments as they reconnected with one another as they had not seen each other for some time. Another moment that was extremely touching was during an evening funeral service for a young 10 year old girl. The death had been very sudden but the DistantLink team still talk about the young mother as she stood and told the story of her daughter’s death to those watching by the Internet and the emotional impact it had upon everyone in attendance, either in person or via DistantLink. A lot of tears were shed both her and overseas online by everyone in attendance. If there is any manner whereby we can continue to promote the value of family and friends coming together during the loss of someone of significance to the family / community unit; we want to be a part of providing this type of service. We believe that DistantLink can help us accomplish this goal.
But I would be remiss if I did not forewarn you about some unexpected moments. For example the first time we used the system, the DistantLink team came to us and were apologetic. We asked what their concern was and they informed us that during the evening visitation they glanced over towards the deceased in the casket and he was all alone. Everyone in the room was gathered around the viewing screen sharing stories with one another about prior times with the deceased. They were laughing and crying as they shared life history with one another. My immediate thought was, “Oh my, what have we done?” But I was assured in myself when I remembered that the purpose of a funeral is to bring family and friends together......and this was exactly what we were doing with DistantLink. Laughter, tears and stories shared together through the power of new electronics.
And yet there are still several areas that we have not yet explored. One being able to have a relative living abroad, give an online eulogy on our chapel big screen during the funeral service. Just think. When we turn the camera towards the congregation, they will be able to watch and see as if they were actually standing at the front of our chapel observing the reaction of those to whom they are speaking. Another experience will be to use this same technology to offer live webinars to the local community. We will be able to interact with those joining us online and be able to teach them about the various aspects of what to expect from the Ogden Funeral Home and the kind of assistance we can provide upon the death of a family member. We can hold brief educational moments that will allow us to communicate and interact with those online explaining such topics as where some of the costs for a funeral come from and also what is legally required at the time of a person’s death. We will be able to use DistantLink as a tool, used as a means of education, providing information to new immigrants as to what to expect when they experience the death of a family member for the first time here in Canada. We believe that through this new technology we will be able to help take away some of the fear new immigrants encounter when coming through our doors for the first time.
There are many funeral homes today who are still not embracing the new wave of technology that is taking place, not only in our world as we know it, but in the world of funeral services. We at Ogden’s want our services to remain relevant to those we serve. We want to keep current with technology being used by individuals of this current generation and as such we need to consider such services as DistantLink whereby we embrace new web based services that will allow us to bring families together who otherwise could not attend or participate in their family members visitation or funeral service. This is new exciting technology being brought to us by DistantLink and it is taking our profession into a new realm of service. Indeed like our Star Trek friends, taking us where we have never gone before."
Ken Papirny, Manager, Hainstock's Funeral Home & Crematorium, Alberta, Canada
"Combining the technological advantages of today with the traditions of yesterday, allows us to best serve a diverse range of clients and their needs. With the world community shrinking every day, there are still very real issues with the ability to attend important events in person. With the DistantLink service, we allow our clients the closure and comfort that they need without adding any additional burden."
Bruce Muise, Managing Director, H. M. Huskilson's Funeral Homes Ltd., Nova Scotia, Canada
"We have been looking into making funeral web casting available to our families for quite some time. There are a number of companies out there who offer an assortment of options regarding this service, many of which are part of larger companies in other provinces or even in the U.S. - companies where you rarely speak to the same person twice. Then we found DistantLink – and that's where we found everything we were looking for and more, at a very reasonable cost. They took the time to explain every available option in plain, everyday language, with no vague, high-pressure sales pitches. Once we decided what we felt was right for us, we were up-and-running in a matter of hours. Even when we encountered a few small glitches in our set-up, all we had to do was pick up the phone, and they were right there to help solve the problem within minutes. Now, thanks to DistantLink, our families can attend the funeral of their loved ones from anywhere in the world in real time, with the option of viewing it later. The service that DistantLink provides has allowed them to become part of the family of funeral service providers with their reliable, personal and dedicated levels of service to families in need. I highly recommend DistantLink ."
Their Clients Said...
"We live in the UK and my mum was unable to come to the funeral as they have an Indian passport and they were unable to get a visa. This way, they were able to watch everything. So thank you very much for this service - you do not know how much it means that this was available. Thank you again"
Vishnu Bali, United Kingdom
"I would first thank the Torregoza Family for engaging DistantLink. It's great that there's a company like yours who pioneer in this kind of service. It made us feel we were actually at the wake and services. My family in Delaware, Maryland, myself in New York as well as those thousands of miles away in the Philippines were able to somehow share during this time of sorrow of our relatives in Canada."
Susan Santos, New York, New York
"I could interact with my niece and nephew in England. I could actually introduce them to Funeral attendees. It was incredible. The circle of life was so affirming. Instead of getting cold emails or notes, all my family could participate."
Anne Sangster Halifax, Nova Scotia
"My husband and children were not able to attend my mom's funeral. They visited virtually using DistantLink. My late mother's cousins in Ottawa were all able to meet them. Wonderful!"
Melanie Fisher London, England
"Frankly I am tired of being the guy to make everything work with my tech-challenged family. I was a little hesitant to tell people about it - because of all the questions I would have to answer. I didn't have to do anything with DistantLink. Everything was incredibly easy. I didn't have to do anything at all. It was zero stress. And it works well on lousy computers. I've got nothing but great things to say about this system."
Paul L Jenkins, Toronto ON
Equipment as low as $60.00 per month for 36 month term - Fast and Easy Approval
Fax completed forms to 1-902-865-7573, or email to Info@distantlink.com