Who ever thought we’d be experiencing something like this in our lifetime? What’s happening right now is beyond words, it’s letters and numbers; COVID-19. It sounds like the name of a secret spy mission.
Is this our new normal?
Over the past several weeks I have been on an emotional roller coaster. At first, I felt grateful. As crazy as that sounds, I was looking for the silver lining. As a society, we are always on the go. It has become part of our culture, with no time to just be still. It felt like the universe was saying, “Hey, stop for a moment and breathe, connect with the people in your life and appreciate them.”
The Asbury Park Community was coming together in a big way with the creation of the AP Dinner Table. And so many others doing great things to help the community and themselves stay afloat in this challenging time. One of my favorites is the Asbury Park Distilling Company making hand sanitizer, that’s brilliant.
Business 101: find a need and fill it. With the abundant, creative, philanthropic, and entrepreneurial spirit in Asbury Park, I thought, “We’re going to be okay.”
Then I’d listen to the news and watch the numbers grow; the number of cases, the number of deaths. I felt crushed by what I was hearing, how badly people are suffering all over the world. Health care workers and first-responders being pushed beyond limits. I no longer felt grateful, I felt fearful.
What kind of world will our children grow up in? I wondered. Has life as we know it changed forever? It was too depressing to think about, so I stopped listening to the news for a while.
Then I saw the Sunday New York Times, there was a story about how the earth was recuperating from the absence of people. Smog and pollution were dissipating. It showed pictures of a clear L.A. skyline and clean water in the canals of Venice where you could actually see the bottom, both of which were nonexistent before. Ironically, as people are getting sick the earth is healing. A silver lining? Perhaps.
I heard someone say, “Are the birds chirping louder, or is it so quiet we are just hearing them better?” A few days ago, the birds were chirping so loudly I had to go look out the window. “What’s all that noise?” The sun was out, then suddenly, the sky became dark and the wind picked up. A storm came through that looked like a tornado. I’ve never seen such ominous clouds that resembled funnels coming up from the ocean. Thankfully, within a few minutes it was over.
Where would we be without it? Video conferencing platforms have become a survival tool that has allowed us to continue to work, to educate, to see our family and friends, to celebrate birthdays and holidays. COVID-19 is shifting us into a new age of technology and transforming the way we live. Even hospitals and health care professionals are using video platforms like Zoom to stay in touch with their patients. The world as we know it is changing.
I recently took a virtual yoga class with The Daley Practice on Bangs. A laptop, a yoga mat, and a few blankets was all I needed to practice in the privacy of my own home. Myself and 14 other students, all joining in from our living rooms. It was great. Thea Daley, the instructor, would get right up to the screen. With her finger bent across her lips she peered into the camera, making sure we were doing the poses correctly.
A fun surprise was seeing Karen Lymer in the class. Karen had been an Asbury Park resident for years and lived in The Post building. She attended yoga at The Daley Practice regularly. A few years ago, she and her husband moved back to England. I hadn’t seen her since. Her joining in a virtual yoga class from across the pond was notable.
Businesses that are using technology to help them stay alive now, will be in a much better position when the Coronavirus dust settles. Video platforms can take you beyond the limitations of walls and geographic boundaries. If you could only fit 15 or 20 people in your classroom before, now you can have 50, 100, or more, there’s no limit! And your students will never have to worry about traffic or parking. This is truly a silver lining.
To Zoom or not to Zoom
When I was looking for a video platform company that would enable us to continue with the Artist’s Way group, I had heard about Zoom, as well as some others like Blue Jeans and google hang out, but I wasn’t sure which one was the most suitable for my needs. At the time, Zoom was having security issues.
After comparing different platforms and features I discovered that Lifesize had the best free subscription overall for our purposes with the most to offer and no restrictions. We’ve been using it for the past several weeks and have found it to be easy to use and there are no downloads required. The quality and security are also top notch.
I recently spoke with a representative from Yorktel.com in Eatontown, NJ; a video conferencing and communications company that mostly deals with larger organizations. I asked if he had some advice to offer. Here’s what he had to say:
“Right now we’re experiencing vast technological expansion and growth. With video conferencing it’s all about having an efficient and effective experience. If you’re looking for a platform, find out how much band width you have, that will make a difference. And pay the extra money for a more secure, higher quality service, it’s worth it.”
Anyone interested in taking a virtual yoga class can contact Thea Daley at thedaleypractice.com