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Expo 2020 Dubai

Cisco Customer Experience team delivers secure connectivity for global event

Customer Objective

  • Create an unforgettable event for millions of people to enjoy

  • Give fast connectivity to all users on all devices across the site

  • Put full project delivery in the hands of one technology partner

Cisco Solution

  • Strategy, design, financing, procurement and project execution 

  • Cisco SD-Access gives secure access to users, devices and apps 

  • Cisco Wi-Fi connects 300,000 daily visitors, volunteers and staff

Business Outcome

  • Peace of mind in gaining secure access from the edge to the cloud 

  • The agility to scale the network fast if or when the need arises 

  • Future ROI, with flexible infrastructure viable beyond the event

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 an historic event, but Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to be the largest, most connected one ever. The first event of its kind hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visits over six months. Approximately 70 percent of people visiting are expected to come from outside the region—the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos.

As the foundation of an event showcasing communication and the latest technology, the Expo infrastructure must support everything from ubiquitous connectivity to mobile devices, dynamic signage, advanced collaboration, physical security, and more. Extending across 4.38 square km, Expo 2020 is in many ways a massive, smart city, and the unique scale and complexity of the event presented huge challenges to organizers. Expo needed a technology partner that was uniquely qualified and experienced to handle ultra-large, complex projects, providing support for strategy, design, financing, 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 brings a 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 all the pieces in place to meet the challenges of this high-profile initiative.

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 Delivery Lead specifically to Expo, to drive the project forward and ensure on-time completion and deliver the outcomes required.

“Without the expertise and dedication of Cisco, and their Customer Experience Organisation so much of the tech and innovation powering Expo 2020 Dubai couldn't have existed. It’s a mega project that only a partner like Cisco could have provided” said Mohammed Alhashmi, Chief Technology Officer, EXPO 2020 Dubai.

To rapidly deploy an end-to-end 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 supports mobile communication for 300,000 visitors, volunteers, and employees. 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/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.

Without the expertise and dedication of Cisco, and their Customer Experience Organisation so much of the tech and innovation powering Expo 2020 Dubai couldn't have existed. It’s a mega project that only a partner like Cisco could have provided.

Mohammed Alhashmi

Chief Technology Officer, EXPO 2020 Dubai

Meeting an aggressive deployment deadline

As Expo 2020 nears its opening day, Cisco CX has successfully delivered on a variety of key milestones. The team has completed the deployment of its advanced networks across all three districts for Expo, including Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. The Cisco network core is nearly complete, and Wi-Fi staging is proceeding rapidly. Expo 2020 has also announced that Cisco CX will operate the network, taking the partnership to another level.

“Cisco are a preferred partner of Expo 2020 Dubai and we recently awarded Cisco CX the contract to operate our network during the event. They have a system integration and partnering mentality at their core, and together we have created a secure end to end digital network architecture, truly bringing the Expo 2020 Dubai theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future to life” said Mohammed.

“Expo 2020 Dubai will be an extraordinary event and for Cisco CX our customer’s success is critical, so we have kept this project core to our hearts and minds. We have built one seamless team, sharing the vision, dedication and commitment needed to realize what will be an iconic event in the history of this nation. The real differentiator is our partnership with the Expo 2020 team across the design, deployment and operate lifecycle, delivering simple, agile and innovative customer experiences at every step of the journey” said Adele Trombetta, VP Customer Experience MEA at Cisco.

Cisco CX is also deploying Cisco Physical Security solutions, to support a CCTV network including a wide array of security cameras. 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 played an essential role in bringing all the projects and technologies together, under an extremely tight deadline. After the event concludes in 2021, Expo is considering leaving some facilities and infrastructure in place to continue to support visitors and businesses in the region.

For more information

To find out more about Cisco Customer Experience and how we can accelerate your success, check out our ebook, Accelerate Your Journey to Intent-Based Networking With Cisco Customer Experience.

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