QR codes find a warm reception in Anchorage


QR codes will now be allowed on the notches of the columbarium wall in Anchorage’s public cemetery. (Rob Jones)

QR codes, sometimes mocked for their lack of popularity or knack for popping up in unexpected places, have found a happy home in Anchorage. Last week the city’s assembly voted unanimously to allow families of the deceased to place QR codes on its columbarium wall, a 600-foot long structure that can hold about 9,000 urns.

“This QR code, I’m really excited about that,” said assemblyman Ernie Hall at the meeting. He then suggested expanding the uses of QR codes to signs in local parks, so citizens could easily learn why the park’s namesake was honored.

An up-close look at a QR code on a monument. (Courtesy of Quiring Monuments)
An up-close look at a QR code on a monument. (Courtesy of Quiring Monuments)

QR codes, which resemble a checkerboard barcode, can be scanned with a smartphone to pull up a Web page. For $150 families will be able to have a QR code for their loved one, which will link to an obituary, photos or video commemorating the loved one. The online memorials are hosted by Quiring Monuments and designed by the families.

“If we give people the opportunity to memorialize in a way that they’re comfortable with, then they’ll be down the road to healthy grieving, and that’s the whole point,” said Rob Jones, the director of Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

He doesn’t consider himself a techie — he’s not on Facebook and only recently downloaded a QR code reader to his smartphone. But he’s passionate about the cemetery, and was struck by the idea after flipping through trade magazines.

“You open up any magazine and there’s half a dozen codes that link to advertisers. I just started thinking, would it be cool if we gave folks this opportunity to memorialize?” Jones said. “I’m really surprised more folks haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.”

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland | August 13