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        By Jeff Singer
        I am writing today from my cousin’s beach house. I’ve been here for almost two months. Both of my daughters are in their bedrooms on their laptops “in school.” My wife is on a conference call working on the dining room table. I am sitting on the family room couch hunched over the coffee table. This is how we spend most days. Like most of you, we are in quarantine during this pandemic. Politics, economics, and geography aside, no one has been unscathed by COVID-19. Some have been, and continue to be, impacted more than others, but individually and collectively, we are forever changed.
        As my family tries to maintain our mental and physical health, home is no longer just our sanctuary. It is now our office, classroom, restaurant, movie theater, bar, and gathering place. Through Crestron, I’ve been working with Microsoft Teams® and Zoom™ software for years, and now, they are household names. Zoom is even a verb again.
        Last month, we could not be together with extended family for our holiday meal. It was disappointing and stressful. The source of stress was mainly from teaching my in-laws how to download Zoom and connect to a meeting. Eventually, they got it. I positioned my laptop on a stack of books on a chair at one end of the dining room table, and carefully seated my immediate family around the table so everyone was (mostly) on camera. It was really nice to have cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents (virtually) together. There were the usual difficulties seeing everyone in tiny windows from far away, tracking who was talking, and hearing each other, but still, it was nice to be “together.”
        Living in “the Q” has refocused many of us on our core values and priorities. I have reconnected with friends and family in a way that I haven’t in a long time. Every week groups of my friends, including college and work, get together for remote happy hours (alcohol is optional). These meetups are so much fun, and deeply meaningful in these difficult times. I don’t think we’ll ever go back to just random texting even after the lockdown is lifted.
        Our state has officially closed all school buildings for the remainder of the year. It is unclear if schools will reopen in the fall. My older daughter is a graduating high school senior. I feel badly for all the 2020 high school and college graduates. Like many parents and students, we will celebrate this milestone enthusiastically, but remotely. We are also mentally preparing for “college in the kitchen” since we’re not sure if she’ll be able to move into the dorms or attend classes on campus.
        Not to be cliché, but that’s the new normal. Our new reality is that no one really knows what is going to happen in the next few months or years. To varying degrees and timelines, our communities, states, and eventually our country will open again. But how we work, teach, learn, and socialize is different now. More people will communicate, collaborate, and interact remotely more often. The stigma of working from home or online classes has eroded. Traveling is not as easy or enticing; it’s safer and easier for our older family members to Zoom for holidays and other celebrations.
        We will be fine. We learn and adapt. We have learned that we need to be prepared, not just by stocking up on toilet paper, but also taking this opportunity to upgrade our remote conferencing capabilities at home. We shouldn’t have to huddle around a laptop to get everyone on camera or look at people at the far end in tiny windows; or shout into a short-range microphone and strain to hear through tiny speakers. If we’re going to work, teach, learn, and socialize from home, we deserve a better, more natural experience. That’s exactly why Crestron HomeTime™ was developed.
        With Crestron HomeTime you can display Zoom on the large screen TV in your living room, or in any other room. All it takes is one tap on your mobile device, TSR-310 remote, or Crestron touch screen to start or end a Zoom meeting. You can control volume, mute, even route the meeting to different TVs. The wide-view 4K camera tracks the speaker and the full-duplex, beam forming mic array captures speech, while auto-leveling voices and suppressing noise for clear, intelligible conversation.
        Logitech and Crestron partnered to bring this unique solution to market in record time to meet the needs of these unprecedented times. Offer Crestron HomeTime as an upgrade for your clients’ home office, living room, and/or rec room. Help make their new reality more normal. They will thank you for it.
        Learn more about Crestron HomeTime.