Expo 2020 Dubai

Cisco Customer Experience team deploys a vast infrastructure to support millions of visits over six months.

Industry: Events

Company size: 1524 employees

Location: Dubai


Customer objectives

  • Provide secure, seamless communication to millions of visitors across the Expo site.
  • Support advanced mobility anytime on any device.
  • Seek strategic technical guidance and manage multiple contractors to plan, design, deliver and operate a seamless networking solution for a six-month event.

Cisco solutions

  • Cisco Customer Experience (CX) team worked with multiple vendors, providing strategy, design, procurement, and project execution.

  • Cisco Software Defined Access (SD-Access) solution delivers secure access to users, devices, and applications from the edge to the cloud.

  • Cisco Wi-Fi solutions capable of keeping 250,000 visitors, volunteers, and employees connected on a daily basis.


Business outcomes

  • Software-defined architecture provides access to any user, device, or application from the edge to the cloud, without compromising security.

  • Scalable infrastructure can easily expand to meet rapidly changing requirements.

  • Flexible, resilient infrastructure can continue to support facilities after event concludes.

Expo 2020 Dubai has been postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19

Building a smart city infrastructure to support a world-class event

Every World Expo is a historic event, but Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to be one of the most connected ever. The first World Expo hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world, Expo 2020 is expected to attract millions of visitors over its six-month run.

As the foundation of an event showcasing communication and the latest technology, Expo 2020's infrastructure must support everything from ubiquitous connectivity to mobile devices, dynamic signage, advanced collaboration, physical security and more. Extending across 4.38 square kilometres, Expo 2020 is, in many ways, a massive smart site. With this scale and complexity presenting unique challenges to organizers, Expo needed a technology partner that was uniquely qualified and experienced to handle ultra-large, complex projects—providing support for planning, design, procurement and project execution. The partner would also need to adhere to a very aggressive readiness schedule, directing and collaborating closely with multiple contractors.

After considering several options, Expo organizers chose the Cisco Customer Experience (CX) team. Bringing a system integration approach to its projects, Cisco CX delivers the complete set of skills necessary to ensure project success, acting as a consultant, system integrator and technology provider. Together, Expo 2020 and Cisco are putting in place all the pieces required to meet the challenges of this high-profile project.

Defining and deploying a ubiquitous, software-defined infrastructure

From the outset, Cisco CX positioned itself to ensure its client's success. Cisco CX assigned a dedicated Customer Success Executive and two Delivery Leads specifically for Expo—to drive forward the project, ensure on-time completion and deliver the required outcomes. 

"Partners of mega-projects such as Expo 2020 play a crucial role in ensuring success—before, during and after an event. Without the expertise, dedication and outstanding customer service provided by a partner like Cisco, much of the innovation that powers Expo 2020 Dubai and will deliver our vision for a connected visitor experience  would simply not exist" said Mohammed Alhashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai.

To rapidly deploy an end-to-end network architecture that would provide the performance and capacity to meet the event's wide range of technical needs, CX recommended a Cisco Software Defined Access (SD-Access) solution. This scalable, agile approach provides access to any user, device or application from the edge to the cloud, without compromising security. It also enables secure segmentation of all the event's users and devices. 

To support connectivity across the entire site, Cisco deployed a Cisco Wi-Fi solution consisting of 8000 access points, as well as wireless LAN controllers. Providing secure, seamless roaming for attendees on their favorite devices, the solution will be capable of supporting mobile communication for volunteers, employees and thousands of visitors on a daily basis. Cisco Security solutions help safeguard communications, and also provide secure firewall, web and email services.

The Cisco CX team also deployed Cisco Vision, an end-to-end dynamic signage and IPTV solution that enables Expo 2020 to communicate and engage with visitors in new, impactful ways, and support partner branding through immersive ultra-high-definition (UHD) video content. The solution enables Expo to deliver personalized experiences, centrally managing more than 2000 types of digital canvasses—from traditional screens to LEDs and mega-screens—across the entire site.

The use of Cisco Vision is an essential element to providing an unrivalled visitor experience, allowing us to communicate and engage with our visitors throughout their entire Expo 2020 journey

-Mohammed Alhashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai

Meeting an aggressive deployment deadline

Cisco CX has successfully delivered on a variety of key milestones, as Expo 2020 prepares to open its doors to the world on 1 October 2021. The team has completed the deployment of its advanced networks across Expo 2020's Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability Districts. The Cisco network core is nearly complete, with Wi-Fi staging proceeding rapidly. Expo 2020 has also announced that Cisco CX will operate the network, taking the partnership to another level.  

"As our Official Premier Digital Network Partner, Cisco was recently awarded the contract to operate our network during the event. Cisco CX has system integration and partnering mentality at its core. Together with Expo and our other partners, Cisco has created a secure end-to-end digital network architecture that truly brings to life our theme of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'," said Mohammed Alhashmi.

Cisco CX is also deploying Cisco Physical Security solutions to support Expo's CCTV network. The solution will employ redundant switches to minimize blind spots, providing security teams with unmatched visibility and coverage to monitor and control access throughout the massive site, and help ensure public safety.

Cisco CX has played an essential role in bringing together a wide variety of projects and technologies under an extremely tight deadline. After Expo 2020 ends in March 2022, 80 percent of its built environment will be repurposed at District 2020—a smart and sustainable mixed-use community built with human centricity at its core.

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