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High tech team brings count to life

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

THE Ipswich by-election is proving to be a first all-round.

It's the first by-election of the 2001 Parliament, the first to be surrounded by a high-tech show, and the first to be ignored by BBC2's election night team!

The BBC will not be broadcasting the result on terrestrial television - unless it happens to fall during their Despatch Box programme between midnight and 12.

THE Ipswich by-election is proving to be a first all-round.

It's the first by-election of the 2001 Parliament, the first to be surrounded by a high-tech show, and the first to be ignored by BBC2's election night team!

The BBC will not be broadcasting the result on terrestrial television – unless it happens to fall during their Despatch Box programme between midnight and 12.30am.

Anglia Television is screening an election special between 11.30pm and midnight – which could run until 12.30am if the result hasn't come in by midnight.

Satellite broadcasters BBC News 24, Sky News and the ITN News Channel are expected to broadcast the result live.

A high-tech virtual reality show is to be beamed around the Corn Exchange in Ipswich to keep journalists and political activists entertained while the count is going on.

It is being set up by the Audio Visual Unit run by Mick Parker, and his staff were in the Grand Hall of the Corn Exchange for much of last night setting up the heavy equipment.

Mr Parker, the marketing director of the company in Leslie Road, Ipswich, is convinced that the show will be the way forward for voters in the future.

As well as a virtual reality commentator, there will be aerial views of Ipswich and all that IP-City has to offer.

Mr Parker said: "We have been based here for seven years and people are still astonished by the things we have here.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this will be the way forward for elections.

"Tony Blair is very interested in what is going on and has been keeping up to date."

AV Unit Ltd and Btexact Technologies from Martlesham Heath teamed up together in a bid to make the show as spectacular as possible with the most up to date lasers and lighting.

Mr Parker said: "We have seen this in an awful of the work we do as we also do conferences and shows. It's about making things interactive – people like to be stimulated and interested."

Officials at Ipswich Council expect the result to be declared at about 1am tomorrow morning.

But that depends on the turnout and the difficulty faced by trying to get ballot boxes to the Corn Exchange through traffic after the Inter Milan match at Portman Road tonight.

Without the match, the result could have been declared by midnight.

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