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This blog post originally appeared on Haphazard.Business blog on 9 October 2022.

Stage two of the Fourth Portal testing has begun in Great Yarmouth. It will introduce the hybrid LiftPod, developing the provenance system and other technologies.

Stage one

Stage one focused on opening a physical Fourth Portal in a former Citizens Advice Bureau. The goal was to gauge public reaction and inform the Platform-7 network. As expected, we hit problems that all new businesses face when starting up. We fell behind on bringing in the technologies we wanted to sample and need a second testing period. Read TEST HUB for more on stage one.

L to R: The Fourth Portal building inside an old Citizen Advice Bureau and setting up for stage on testing.

Stage two testing

Stage two runs throughout October and November 2022, Monday to Friday, 11am-6pm. There will be occasional Saturday openings and evening events. Free WiFi and internal network allow visitors to surf the internet and work offline.

The main goal for stage two is to set up our in-house technologies. Showing various apps and raising awareness of the Fourth Portal will also be a priority.


The Lucia Collective devised a four-floor virtual house in 2020. With pandemic lockdowns, the online house became a meeting point for friends. The fun 2D space has simple keyboard commands to move around and resembles early video games.

Around the same time, Platform-7 was running the online Discussion Festival. The weekly event sought to understand how people move around unaided during an online event.

Conversations evolved between Lucia Collective and Platform-7 on the future of hybrid events. These conversations culminated in a hybrid arm being produced for the Fourth Portal. The LiftPod is our first real-world experiment.

L to R: Graham Klyne working on audio issues and coding, Liftpod inside the virtual Lucia House, Lauren and John inside the physical Liftpod and a test version of the screen.

Provenance system

Graham Klyne developed his linked data tool as part of the Fusing Audio and Semantic Technology (FAST) programme. Platform-7 was working on presenting FAST to the music industry at Abbey Road Studios.

Discussions began on using linked data as a form of provenance system. Provenance is the ability to know the history of a product or object. The Fourth Portal is creating ‘In The Frame’ (ITF) to test some ideas. Framed photos of people who changed the course of history will be on display. These photos will have an identifier that a mobile phone can read. This identifier will open and provide information about the person in the frame.

The basics of linked data are not very complicated. The challenge lies in the classification of information. Classifying is crucial, as it partly underpins AI and Machine Learning. See THE SEMANTIC WEB for more.

L to R: In The Frame wall of fame and Ada Lovelace.

Assistive apps

Great Yarmouth suffers from deprivation and low educational attainment. A benefit of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the availability of assistive apps. Such apps are widely available and often have a free element. This provides an opportunity for people to improve their life chances through self-help. Apps can assist in helping to improve reading to way-finding for those with a disability.

A selection of apps will be on display for visitors to assess if they are of benefit.

Art and creativity

Understanding creativity through the lens of art is an established method. Peter Rodulfo and Kevin Gavaghan are the two artists exhibiting this autumn. Technologies relating to the artists’ work will be available alongside the paintings.

L to R: Artist Peter Rodulfo and Artist Kevin Gavaghan.

Raising the profile

Stage two will begin the process of raising the profile of the Fourth Portal. Low-key publicity, live events and future blog posts will introduce the business. Feedback from visitors will prove vital to the development of the business model.

Branding has to be flexible to cope with the myriad of new platforms and routes to customer engagement the new economy will bring.


The Fourth Portal is a business model of the future. It is complicated as it brings together elements that are often separate. Retail, work, learning and social all mix within the same space. For a public unused to such an experience, the place may cause confusion. Stage two is to understand how to ensure people are comfortable coming in. What encourages them to stay and what causes them to leave? It is all part of an enjoyable learning process.

John M

Fourth Portal, 2 Stonecutters Way, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 1HF (find us)

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