Can You Hear Me Now?

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It looks like Verizon is going to have to revamp its popular, "Can you hear me now?" ad campaign. We've grown accustomed to the ubiquitous signal-strength tester crawling the nooks and crannies of our urban and rural landscape asking what has truly become the question of our age. His job is about to get a lot tougher.

According to the Mainichi Daily News, Ishinokoe, a gravestone manufacturer in Mainichi, Japan, is installing a QR code inside grave markers that can be accessed by cell phone. The feature can be added to existing gravestones for 200,000 yen. Those visiting the gravesite are able to access images, photos, and video of the departed. According to the company president, they can also, "view a greeting from the chief mourner at the funeral and browse through the guest book." In the spirit of true interactivity, they will have the option of adding their own personal entries via cell phone.

Is it me, or has this company just recalibrated the requisite lengths I must now go in order to create a little distance between myself and the crackberry jungle? From this day forward, I can no longer anticipate escaping the crushing demands of the inbox even in the great beyond. I guess the definition of perpetual care will have to be expanded to include unlimited voice, text, and Web browsing.

P.S. All kidding aside, I think this idea is going to be huge. I predict that within a few years we will barely remember grave markers that did not visually memorialize a person's life and provide visitors the opportunity to add to a perpetually growing tribute. The main concern will be how to secure the site from digital vandals. In the end the security challenge will probably just provide an additional service revenue stream for site maintenance. And the beat goes on.

Last updated: Jun 9, 2008




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