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IT'S CLOSE,SO ARE WESmart AV, your audiovisual and I.T. hire specialist.Only 30 minutes from Stratford. +44(0)1279 624 840 | | 5EditorialPublishing Director Liz AgostiniManaging Editor Nadia Cameron Deputy Editor Antony Reeve-CrookStaff Writer Domenic DonatantoniodigitalOnline Editor Sarah O'DonnellAdvertising Manager Jamie LininSubScriptionSCirculation Executive Tim Pardingtonproduction & dESign Production Manager Luke SpaldingDesigner Sarah GarlandProduction Assistant Julia Ball contact uSSubscriptions 020 8971 8268Editorial 020 8971 8292Sales 020 8971 8265 Production 020 8971 8272Published by Mash Media 4th Floor, Sterling House6-10 St George's Road London SW19 4DPTel: +44 (0)20 8971 82821 year's subscription cost is UK £95+VAT p/a Europe £112+VAT ROW £130+VAT.Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the publishers.Printed by Pensord Press Ltd. nother edition of Exhibition News, and another step forward in the Earls Court redevelopment process. This time, we're reporting on Hammersmith and Fulham Council's approval of the first stage of Capital and Counties plans for the site, which will see the Seagrave Road car park converted into housing. This site's redevelopment will include homes to potentially relocate Earls Court residents from the rest of the 77-acre opportunity area should the larger site plans be approved. The council's stamp of approval brings the larger Earls Court site's rejuvenation and demolition of the exhibition halls a step closer, but it by no means signifies the end of the battle. It's still unclear as to whether CapCo's bigger plans will make it off the drawing board, and as we've previously reported, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has several concerns with the first draft of the site's masterplan. Residents also continue to rail against the development.However, there is a clear interest in this site's redevelopment across several councils and judging by the GLA's efforts to help CapCo overcome shortfalls in its masterplan application, we can expect further movement on this very shortly. A potential dark horse threatening to upset CapCo's plans is Chelsea Football Club, which used the February council meeting to call for a halt to any masterplan approval while it sorts out its own plans. The club has previously expressed an interest in building a new stadium, with leisure, conference and exhibition facilities, on the site. Its inability however to prevent the go-ahead on Seagrave Road is a sign that further efforts will be fruitless, unless it hops into bed with CapCo somehow. While we all wait to find out what future Earls Court Exhibition Centre has - if any - work on Olympia's refurbishment continues unabated. In this issue, we include a special report on the new-look West Hall, plans for Olympia 2 and how the venue plans to celebrate 125 years in business. The combination of the old and the new is a pervading theme throughout this month's edition. Our main feature for example, tackles virtual events and how these are being used as a complementary opportunity to physical events. As a former technology industry journalist, I was initially surprised by the reluctance to embrace technology in exhibitions. You can't escape technology's influence now. Nor should you. There are a host of innovations, from mobile apps to virtual event platforms, which give your customers new ways of interacting with their customers and that can add to your value proposition.There are clearly still challenges with connectivity on the show floor itself, but the constructive approach taken by the cross-industry Wi-Fi Working Group is a great example of how we can work together to make technology something that helps us, not hinders us. On a final note, we're just a few weeks away from Exhibition News' sixth annual Awards on 29 March. Alongside this month's main edition, we've compiled a special supplement dedicated to the finalists of this year's 20 people and company awards categories. There are several incredible achievements mentioned here. I look forward to celebrating these industry superstars with all of you come 29 March. If you haven't already got your tickets, get online and secure them at: or call our events team: 0208 971 8282. There is clear council interest in Earls Court's redevelopmentNADIA CAMERON MANAGING EDITORncameron@mashmedia.netTAkING THE NExT STEP FORWARDa