Zoom has announced that it has launched a range of new features that are designed to bring people closer together during online gatherings for the Eid Al Adha break.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Sam Tayan, managing director at Zoom in the Middle East and Africa, explained that despite the fact that many residents would like to leave the pandemic behind, the regulations in the UAE include avoiding gatherings during Eid. However, celebrating at home does not mean that residents have to celebrate alone. “The past year and a half have shown us that humans have become resilient when faced with physical distancing restrictions as our online presence grows and we are given more options than ever before to connect with our loved ones far and wide, whether it is across continents or neighboring houses.”
“As we yearn to go back to normal, it’s important to note that despite restrictions, there are always ways of finding a sense of community regardless of location,” he said. “Understanding the importance of celebration in a time of uncertainty, Zoom has launched the Immersive View option, allowing you and the ones you hold dearest to you to sit together in a grouped setting, giving you a similar feeling of warmth as when you gather around the dining room table to feast together. This makes for a much more interactive and fun setting for online gatherings and can break the virtual meeting routine.”
Tayan added that, when faced with virtual gatherings, one concern might be that of awkward silences and dull moments, as each participant zones out and interactivity is strained. There are, however, a large variety of activities, games and functions that can help keep residents’ get-togethers more entertaining.
“Let’s face it, after a heavy meal, you often need to just sit down and digest your food,” he said. “You can do this from the comfort of your home, being only half-dressed up and rocking your sweatpants without anyone knowing. Zoom provides you with fun add-on activities that can make your after-dinner cup of coffee even more entertaining than face to face ones."
"Some options we can suggest are a game of Pictionary and a bit of virtual background and effects fun to keep everyone interested. If a big virtual gathering is not your cup of tea, there is always the option to join a breakout room for more personal conversations because you probably want to catch up with your favorite relatives and friends,” he added.
Looking back at the challenges that many people faced last year, Tayan noted that 2021 comes as a “breath of fresh air” following the struggles of 2020, where social distancing extended across houses, but is now only limited to the two metres between dining chairs. As restrictions loosen up and we slowly transition back into a sense of normalcy, thanks to the UAE’s extremely effective vaccination drive, safety remains a crucial element.
“The wait until Eid can feel like it lasts forever and being with your loved ones is what makes the wait worthwhile,” he said. “Physical distance is not a barrier, it is simply a bump in the road in the way of celebrating the holy holiday with those you hold dearest to you.”
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