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A video portal set up in New York City streams 24/7 live from Dublin

The Portal in Lublin Poland
Image: Lublin Portal

Portals.org has put up a giant sculpture called NYC Portal at the Flatiron South Public Plaza in New York City. It's a massive 3.5-ton circular structure that's a mix of technology and artwork, measuring about 11.5 by 11.5 feet.

The NYC Portal lets people from New York City interact with people from Dublin in real-time through a 24/7 unfiltered live stream. The organization installed an identical structure facing O'Connell Street in Dublin and named it the Dublin Portal. The connection between the two cities was established at 11 am EST on Wednesday.

These Portals are the brainchild of the Lithuanian entrepreneur Benediktas Gylys, who conceived the idea in 2016. The video portals contribute to a growing network of sculptures the organization has been putting up in different countries since 2021. The first two Portals were installed in May 2021 connecting Vilnius, Lithuania to Lublin, Poland.

Describing the technology sculptures, the organization writes:

Meeting humanity as it is, for the first time. Portals were born from a feeling that we humans have more to share than what separates us; and from a sense that we are all interconnected on this planet of ours.

What powers the 8 by 8 feet giant screen is a technology originally built by a British company called Video Window to enable always-on video communication with employees working in remote locations.

The same concept has been utilized for the Portals, with safeguards to ensure people don't take control of it. Video Window CEO Daryl Hutchings told TechCrunch that the software is built in such a way that it's not possible for people to "Zoom bomb" a Portal.

Data privacy and security are among the primary considerations for the cities they work with, according to Portal.org's head of partnerships Nicolas Klaus. It could concern the governments that an always-on connection is being established with another country.

However, Portal.org's partnership with Video Window has made it easier to work with governments around security. Video Window has high-profile names, including Netflix, Apple, and SAP as its customers, Klaus added.

While the sculpture offers an uninterrupted view of a different country, it may have its own set of problems. If it ever faces connection problems, they will be fixed with the help of Video Window's APIs.

Klaus told the publication that they were able to "maintain a 24/7 live stream almost without interruptions" in other locations over the past three years, which made New York and Dublin confident enough to join the network.

Image via Portals.org

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