Company-X built a new app for funeral directors, with more functionality on the way.

Funerals are highly personal events, with no room for error.

Which is why Hamilton-based Freedom Software, makers of FreeDAM Funeral Management Software, ordered a mobile application which would integrate with its funeral database software.

Freedom Software’s Alan Eddy turned to Hamilton-based software specialist Company-X to develop the mobile app, and integration middleware that integrates into its existing funeral management software.

“Funeral directors manage events that can’t go wrong,” Eddy said. “They get one shot at it.”

Before Company-X, based at Wintec House, built the mobile app funeral directors would have to take notes during a visit to the family of the deceased and then transpose those notes to the funeral management system.

“The funeral director would usually use a funeral arrangement sheet, there’s a lot of personal information to capture, such as where the funeral will be held, when, who the pallbearers will be, the name of the deceased’s mother and father, any honors they have, if they are descended from Maori and ages of their children.”

That’s how it worked for two decades in funeral homes using Freedom Software’s system up and down the country.

Now, with the app, the funeral director can enter the information straight into a tablet computer running Google’s Android operating system. The Samsung Galaxy Tab range, for example. It synchronizes with the funeral home over Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection.

“The app brings over the local data from the funeral home database, including details of local cemeteries, celebrants, and funeral home staff.

"You might have five funerals coming up and you need to know where the funerals are happening when you are planning the sixth.”

The app collects a lot of information and goes a long way in helping the undertaker deliver exactly what the family would like for their loved one’s funeral.

“The app helps construct the death notice for the newspaper, and captures the information required for the registration of the death with birth, deaths and marriages at the Department of Internal Affairs,” Eddy said.

He had been wanting to be able to offer his clients a mobile app for a while but hadn’t found the right company to work with on the project.

“I had been looking for people to build an app for a while and had basically given up looking,” he said.

“Everyone wants an app but not everyone can build an app well. A business associate found Company-X through a BNI business networking group.”

Alan was very pleased with the result.

The project could have been web browser-based, but not everywhere in New Zealand has guaranteed internet access, so an app was decided to be the best direction.

Like most other software, there will be updates bringing new functionality to the fingertips of the country’s funeral directors through the app.

“As things progress we’ll be building new functions into the app,” Eddy said.

“I have got a plan of Company-X adding four or five new sections to the app. For example, we can use the device’s stylus to capture signatures when required. We can use the tablet to display the funeral director’s range of caskets. We can use the camera to record images that can be transmitted back to the funeral home database, and we can use the device’s GPS capabilities to help guide the funeral director to the address.

"We live in a mobile and connected world – I want to ensure that funeral directors are also able to use the latest technology to improve the way they work."