In 2005 Tholos Systems, based in Vienna
Austria, introduced its vision for a global network of free and
public video conferencing technology called THOLOS. It had some
good success with a presentation to EU government and business
professionals, but ultimately did not bring its business and
product to market.
The business model was based on free 24/7
public access with a very small percentage of screen time sold
to global brand companies for messaging thus creating a revenue
stream to pay for the enterprise. Tholos Systems made a milestone
achievement in communicating the interactive plaza idea
and its technology platform in a way that is instantly understandable
and very attractive.
Just like radio and telephone networks, the development of global
network of Interactive Plazas is not a matter of if, but of how
Brian Webster and Associates has been active
in producing videoconferences to promote the idea of the Interactive
Plaza, a global network of urban spaces with very large screen
high-definition interactive videoconferencing that is free and
open to the public.
For more information on Interactive
Plaza ideas, organizing, development and marketing contact: Brian
Goldin and the Origin of the "Interactive Plaza"
The term "Interactive Plaza"
was coined by the late Joseph Goldin, a social entrepreneur and
tireless evangelist for the idea of bringing people from all
over the world together using large screen interactive videoconferencing.
Joseph Goldin was born and raised in Soviet
Russia. His first appearance in California was in 1982 during
the first live television "Space Bridge" between Russia
and the United States. This was a historic occasion in the annals
of both US and Russian citizen diplomacy and communication technology.
In September of 1982 Steve Wozniak, cofounder
of Apple Computer organized the US Festival in Santa Barbara
and gathered 250,000 people for a concert festival and celebration
of new creative technologies. It was decided to attempt a two-way
television broadcast of live music between the US Festival and
Moscow to demonstrate a spirit of human unity. Henrikas Yushkiavichus,
the head of the Moscow television system, recruited Joseph, who
had independent artist connections, to find and deliver a Russian
rock band for the occasion of the Space Bridge. The Space Bridge
was a huge success.
This experience of citizens of the world
having the ability to interact directly through interactive technology
that communicated a common humanity and essential unity transformed
Joseph Goldin. He spent the rest of his life traveling the world
and evangelizing his idea of the Interactive Plaza.
Joseph Goldin used these words to describe
Interactive Plazas are large video screens
set up in prominent public places all over the world that could
constantly broadcast live images of people going about their
daily lives in other countries. These large ground-level screens
will be accessible to everyone from children to top-level scientists
for direct communication by random meetings or by making prior
arrangements to meet at the plaza.
This new form of human contact, if used
wisely, could give birth to a planetary consciousness
that until now has been realized only by an enlightened few.
A worldwide network of satellite-linked Interactive Plazas will
act as a cosmic mirror with which we, as citizens of the world,
could look back at ourselves and grasp our humanity and essential
unity as never before.
"Humanity", according to Norbert
Wiener, the founder of cybernetics, is too wide a term to adequately
represent the sphere of activity of most types of social information,
because any community is always limited by the extent to which
its information can be transmitted. From this it follows that
"humanity" - in the true sense of the word - does not
yet exist. The myth of "humanity" appears in the form
of political declarations, humanistic images, religious beliefs
- but "humanity" has yet to emerge as a real, living
The proposed worldwide network of plazas
could turn out to be the informational resource with which humans
are at last able to transform the myth of "humanity"
into reality. The plazas would soon become a traditional element
of the environment, just like the public squares in the Greek
City-States or the well of rural villages. The new feeling of
"distant proximity" experienced by millions of people
all over the world will create a new self-awareness and inevitably
lead to a radical transformation in the way we deal with global
and local problems.
While digital video and broadband Internet
technology had not yet developed to the point where an true Interactive
Plaza was a viable social or commercial enterprise, Goldin organized
many international videoconferences and state of the art public
demonstrations of the concept to showcase its potential.
In the late 80's he arrived in San Francisco
and connected with an active community of people in the "citizens
diplomacy" movement working on developing US and Russian
citizen-to-citizen relationships to ease to military polarization
of the cold war. At that time a US-Moscow Teleport enterprise
that used new video conferencing systems was operating out of
3220 Sacramento Street in San Francisco. In 1988 under the name
of Mirror for Humanity, Goldin helped produce an international
videoconference featuring chamber musicians in San Francisco
playing and interacting with musicians in European cities.
In 1994 he initiated and helped produced
a series of international videoconferences focused on citizens
peace building initiatives to the city of Sarajevo, which was
under the siege of war. Working with the United Nations Association,
UNESCO and San Francisco's Unity Foundation a video conference
was organized for San Francisco that featured Zlata Filopovich
the child author of "A Sarajevo Diary". Following that,
another videoconference between San Francisco and Paris brought
together citizens in San Francisco, including the City Librarian,
Ken Dowling with Mr. Henrikas Yushkiavichus, who by then was
the Assistant Director General of UNESCO in Paris, to discuss
international reconstruction efforts for the recently bombed
Library of Sarajevo.
In July of 1994 Goldin and the Unity Foundation
produced a live festival-to-festival television broadcast from
the Unity Festival in Golden Gate Park to the Baby Universe festival
in Sarajevo, which was organized by Sarajevo artists under the
siege. In August of 1994 Goldin traveled to New York for the
25th anniversary of the Woodstock festival and received permission
to connect that festival to the artist's festival in Sarajevo.
Unfortunately, the television station in Sarajevo was cut off
by snipers preventing the production of that television Space
Joseph Goldin produced his last public
demonstration in the US of his humanitarian vision of interactive
video technology in 1995. It was a large group video conference
from San Diego to Moscow during a conference of the Institute
for Noetic Science and on the occasion of the centenary birthday
of Buckminster Fuller. There he outlined a vision for a global
network of Interactive Plazas in 60 of the worlds largest
cities. He called it transforming the planet into a "Global
Bucky Ball", referring to the Carbon-60 Fullerene molecule.
He then returned to Russia where he was offered an option on
a parcel of land in Moscow's Gorky Park to build the first hub
in his proposed global network of Interactive Plazas.
Joseph Goldin died of a heart attack a
few years later. To his friends in San Francisco he was affectionately
known as the "slightly mad Russian visionary" for his
unbridled enthusiasm for communications technology and the human
potential to harness it for peace and global unity. When the
global network of Interactive Plazas is finally created, as it
surely will be, and they become as common as internet cafes,
Joseph Goldin's vision will be fulfilled.