Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Regina Company Uses Barcodes to Link Gravestones to Memorial Information on Web: Regina Company Brings QR Codes to Gravestones

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Regina Company Uses Barcodes to Link Gravestones to Memorial Information on Web: Regina Company Brings QR Codes to Gravestones

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - If you visit Edouard Garneau's grave in Seattle, you'll see the usual bits of information etched into his bench-style headstone -- his name, when he was born, and the date that he died last August at the age of 78.

And you'll also find a small square barcode, known as a QR code, next to his name. Scan it with a smartphone, and you'll be taken to a detailed online obituary and a photo gallery featuring Garneau, his family and even a picture of him posing with talk show host Jay Leno.

"I just think it's a wonderful thing when someone who knows Ed goes on there -- it brings someone who's gone a little closer," says his 76-year-old wife, Faye Garneau.

"I'm going to have one when I go, only I'm going to write it before I go," she adds with a laugh, "so I can get everything I want on it."

Gravestones are the latest use for QR codes, complex barcodes that can link smartphones with the web. The Seattle-based company that produced Garneau's grave marker made headlines last year for becoming one of the first in North America to offer the technology, and now a Canadian company has become what it believes is the first in this country to follow suit.

Remco Memorials, based in Regina with offices across Western Canada, introduced its QR code system in December, offering to print the barcodes onto rugged vinyl stickers and attaching them to grave markers. Once scanned with a compatible smartphone, a visitor is taken to either an online obituary hosted by Remco or another website, such as a memorial Facebook page.

Company president Dave Reeson says he hasn't sold any of the QR code headstones yet -- the frozen ground of Western Canadian winters means many people wait until the spring to purchase grave markers -- but he says there's been considerable interest from people searching for a unique way to memorialize their loved ones.

"There's only so much you can say on a cemetery monument; you can say so much more using this technology," says Reeson. …

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