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Since 15 March, Webex has enabled a million minutes of virtual meetings between Expo 2020’s teams and their stakeholders Image Credit: Supplied

Since its inception, Expo 2020 Dubai has strived to push the boundaries of innovation and create new standards of excellence for all future mega-events. As Official Digital Network Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, Cisco is helping to make the event the most immersive and digitally connected in World Expo history, inspiring its visitors and capturing the world’s imagination.

During the build up to Expo 2020 Dubai, Cisco’s solutions, which include office applications to book meeting rooms, Webex for videoconferencing and even AI-enabled voice assistants, have each played a pivotal role in providing greater convenience and efficiency at the Expo site. While the event has now been rescheduled for an October 2021 start, work continues to evolve at rapid pace. Work is continuing and teams are leveraging Cisco’s technologies to create memorable experiences and deliver a World Expo that will positively impact future generations.

Remote working

When the UAE government mandated remote working for the public sector in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to reduce the spread of Covid-19, Expo 2020 Dubai was challenged with migrating a 2,000-strong workforce to a completely online working environment, overnight.

Technologies such as Webex have proved to be a vital link for our employees as we continue to work from home. They have enabled us to remain connected, adapting with speed and ease, at the same time as practicing social distancing and protecting the wellbeing of our workforce.

- Mohammed AlHashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai

As the transition began, with the close guidance and solutions provided by Cisco, employees have been able to continue working with minimal disruption. This is due in part to the existing IT and networking infrastructure at Expo 2020 Dubai, which Expo and its partners deployed to ensure smooth running pre-, during and post-event. To meet the demands of remote working and maintain business continuity, Cisco leveraged its expertise and solutions to elevate Expo 2020’s infrastructure a step further.

Webex support 

At the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai’s communications is Cisco’s Webex platform, which enables file-sharing, videoconferencing and messaging, among a host of other features. Cisco’s teams have supported by providing tutorials and onground technical support to ensure all employees streamline processes and maximise the benefits that collaboration technology can provide.

Since the transition to remote working began, Webex has also helped Expo 2020 employees achieve a much-needed degree of normality by promoting open channels of communication and facilitating real-time collaboration.

Since 15 March, Webex has enabled a million minutes of virtual meetings between Expo 2020’s teams and their stakeholders, both internally and externally. Of around 28,000 meetings conducted during this time, a staggering 143,000 participants are estimated to have experienced the capabilities of Cisco’s Webex solution.

Our collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai has always seen a great deal of synergy, with a shared understanding of technology’s potential for positive impact.

- Adele Trombetta, Vice President Customer Experience, Cisco Middle East and Africa

As part of its commitment to empowering communities, Cisco has also extended the use of its Webex solution to the friends and families of Expo 2020 Dubai employees – ensuring that even in difficult times, open channels of communication continue to flourish.

“Cisco’s commitment to our partnership, and the continuous support the team has extended to us is something we are truly grateful for. In forging a path together, we have been able to stay on track with our shared goal of creating an event that will capture the world’s imagination. Technologies such as Webex have proved to be a vital link for our employees as we continue to work from home. They have enabled us to remain connected, adapting with speed and ease, at the same time as practicing social distancing and protecting the wellbeing of our workforce,” said Mohammed AlHashmi, Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai.

Security concerns

Another crucial point of consideration for Expo 2020 Dubai in its normal day-to-day operations, and especially during the transition to remote working, was that connectivity and security must be delivered hand-in-hand. Cisco Webex is designed with security built-in, from the ground up – testament to the company’s long-standing culture of and commitment to safeguarding business interests. When working from home proved to be necessary, Cisco elevated Expo 2020’s security posture a step further, by offering largescale VPN deployment for an additional layer of protection for all remote workers.

In today’s unprecedented times, rapidly scaling Expo 2020’s IT infrastructure was made possible not only by the dedication of our own teams, but also those of Expo, which illustrated a willingness and determination towards ensuring seamless operations remained.

- Shukri Eid, Managing Director, Cisco Gulf Region

Cisco’s local Customer Experience team commissioned and tested a new Remote Access VPN system, which increased Expo 2020’s Webex capacity from 300 to 8,000 concurrent connections.

“Our collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai has always seen a great deal of synergy, with a shared understanding of technology’s potential for positive impact. When Expo 2020 Dubai was faced with the prospect of moving to a fully digital, remote working model, it was only natural for Cisco to extend our support with customized solutions to suit a workforce of this scale. As Expo’s employees continue to work from home, advanced collaboration and security features are helping to keep teams operating, business as usual,” said Adele Trombetta, Vice President Customer Experience, Cisco Middle East and Africa.

Swift deployment

The swift deployment and ongoing support from Cisco has enabled Expo 2020 Dubai to not only manage day-to-day operations and keep its workforce connected, but to also set new standards for remote working in the region. With 2,000 active Webex users in the team, Expo 2020 Dubai now has the UAE’s largest deployment of Cisco Webex technology in the UAE.

Commenting on the achievement of connecting and supporting a record number of employees at Expo 2020 Dubai, Shukri Eid, Managing Director, Cisco Gulf Region said, “At Cisco, our commitment remains focused on helping our partners, customers and local communities leverage technologies to sustain and prosper. In today’s unprecedented times, rapidly scaling Expo 2020’s IT infrastructure was made possible not only by the dedication of our own teams, but also those of Expo, which illustrated a willingness and determination towards ensuring seamless operations remained. With solutions such as our Remote Access VPN and Webex, Expo 2020’s employees will continue to stay connected and can focus on their mission to create an exceptional World Expo that will bring the world together and help shape a better post-pandemic future.”