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Internet2, LOLA bring New World to NIU

March 12, 2012

Nearly 24 years had passed since NIU trumpet professor Mark Ponzo played alongside the New World Symphony’s Bill Williams. That changed Monday, March 5, when the duo took to the stage for a unique performance.

The quirk – Ponzo was located at the NIU School of Music, while Williams performed from Miami Beach, Fla.

The duet was part of a demonstration highlighting the vibrancy and speed of Internet2 over long distances when paired with a low latency audio visual streaming system (LOLA).

Paul Bauer, director of the NIU School of Music, said LOLA requires the highest bandwidth (400Mbps) of all Internet2 technology. “It is intended to allow natural musical interaction based on audio as well as on video communication regardless of distance.”

The eventual goal is to use the technology to provide students with coast-to-coast educational opportunities. Rich Holly, dean of the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts, said some students already have taken long-distance lessons utilizing similar software, but LOLA provides a more vivid interaction.

“With this low latency software, and in color, we will increase the vibrancy of the experience,” Holly said. “With the longer distances we can go, that’s going to enable our students to study with an even larger group of potential teachers.”

Ponzo said the technological capabilities of Internet2 and LOLA will change the way teaching is done world-wide.

“This technology will change everything because you can do things in real time at great distances,” Ponzo said. “If you can do a duet as intricate as this at 1,500 miles away from each other, you can certainly conduct a lesson or do a rehearsal, play duets with students – those kinds of things.”