Transcontinental Duet Uses Gigabit Connection, LOLA Technology

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Audio and video was transmitted 2,100 miles in 67 milliseconds at Saturday’s transcontinental duet performed for a live audience of 4,000 in Chattanooga.

Grammy winning producer and musician T-Bone Burnett performed “The Wild Side of Life” with BR549 founder Chuck Mead. The Chattanooga audience witnessed live collaboration between Mr. Burnett from a Los Angeles studio, and Mr. Mead on stage in Chattanooga, using gigabit-per-second Internet connectivity and new video conferencing technology.

The video conferencing technology, LOLA (LOw LAtency audio visual streaming system), was developed jointly by the Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste, Italy and Consortium GARR in conjunction with Dr. Brian Shepard at USC Thornton School of Music. While most videoconference systems induce latency of a half-second or more, LOLA has been designed to bring the processing latency down to only a few milliseconds. As a result, musicians can actually perform together at great distances.

The latency recorded for Saturday’s duet was 67 milliseconds, meaning audio and video traveled 2100 miles from Chattanooga to Los Angeles, in less time than the blink of an eye.

LOLA was connected to the gigabit-per-second fiber optic network built and operated by Chattanooga’s electric power and communications provider, EPB. The EPB network then delivered the signal to the Los Angeles studio through an Internet 2 connection.

“This kind of musical collaboration is only possible with very high-speed Internet networks,” said Brian Shepard, associate professor of Pedagogical Technology in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. “LOLA uses 500 Mbps (megabits-per-second) to operate, while most so-called broadband connections range in the 2 -10 Mbps range,” he said.

The long distance duet was a collaboration among the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, The Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, EPB Fiber Optics, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Nashville’s “Music City Roots” live variety show and RiverRocks Chattanooga.

Video and audio footage of the event available here.

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