World’s first funeral app for iPhone comes to life

31 Aug 2011

Michael and John Thompson

A funeral director’s parlour in Waterford that has been in business for 255 years has launched what it believes is the world’s first dedicated app for funeral homes.

Robert Thompson Funeral Directors has been in business in Waterford since 1786. The business was originally established by Patrick Harrington, great great grandfather of John Thompson, the present proprietor.

The funeral arrangements of Edmund Ignatius Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers, were made by Harringtonat his own expense, firstly as a tribute to Mr. Rice, and secondly because he feared the monks would not have the money to cover the expenses.

Family business Robert Thompson Funeral Directors prides itself on being ahead of the curve. “This is a logical progression for us,” explained Michael Thompson, director. “The mobile platform is an ideal vehicle for us to utilise as it allows instantaneous access to notices, information and logistics relating to bereavement, all from your mobile phone”.

The introduction of new technologies to the Thompson Funeral business started in the late 70’s when a dedicated fax machine was installed by John Thompson (Michael’s father) to notify the major print media of recent bereavements. In the early 90’s Thompsons were amongst the first to launch their own website and email address.

Their current website includes a facility that enables people unable to attend a funeral to send a message of condolence to a bereaved family online.

“The retrieval of information relating to bereavement inevitably leads the public to our website where we publish our notices and funeral arrangements.

“The public are becoming more sophisticated and the increase in smartphones among the 30 to 50 year olds means we have to adjust,” he said.

iPhone and Android app

“We are always interested in new ways to accommodate the flow of information, we have a small window of opportunity and we need to ensure accurate and up to date information is made available, quickly. The iPhone app is an ideal and logical medium to use” he said.

The app’s core function is to inform of recent bereavements through constant updated information and accurately identify where in Ireland the funeral will take place by utilising the benefits of Google Maps technology.

The app was created by Cork software house DeCare Systems.

Robert Thompson Funeral Directors also plan to populate the app with information on all the churches in the Waterford area including mass times and contact information, as well as location and contact data on other relevant facilities, and display same on a dedicated Google Map within the app.

Thompson Funerals

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years