Allied Code’s Troy Anderson Helps High Schoolers Compete in Hackathon

Three Paradise Valley high school students have created an app idea called World Symphony that would enable performing artists from around the world to collaborate and perform together in real time.

The students – senior Susan Addison of Pinnacle H.S., and juniors Hayden Araza of Paradise Valley H.S. and Giselle Coll of Shadow Mountain H.S. – pitched their app design at the Institute for Digital Progress (iDP) Smart City Hack competition finale at Galvanize in Phoenix’ Warehouse District. As finalists, they beat out a field of 20 to make the top six.

The winning team received $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Barcelona, Spain to represent Phoenix at the Smart City Expo international competition in November.

“We are creating this app so that people can gain new perspectives, learn about other cultures, and practice their art together by eliminating the issue of laggy video chat or glitchy group calls,” said teacher advisor Karen Mensing, a technology integration facilitator at Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD). “We’re bringing the arts into STEM to make STEAM.”

World Symphony uses LoLa (Low Latency audio and video transmissions) to enable actors, dancers and musicians to share ideas, practice together, teach each other, or simply jam, according to the team’s tech mentor, Troy Anderson, CEO of Scottsdale-based Allied Code and a board member of iDP.

Video conferencing apps such as Facetime and Skype do not offer the low-delay, high quality audio and video that LoLa makes possible, said PVUSD IT Director, Jeff Billings.

Team advisor Norm Pratt, PVUSD’s Director of Fine Arts Education, said the students – two of whom are musicians in their school bands, and the third of whom is interested in science, math, and marketing – saw a need for their app because LoLa technology is difficult to use by musicians, the people most likely to use it.

Anderson of iDP said that World Symphony will make it possible for rural students to participate in more collaborative music education. “It’s part of iDP’s mission to create public benefits for building smart cities and spreading broadband into rural areas,” he said.

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