For 182 days, Expo 2020 Dubai dazzled the world. It was the first world expo held in the region, which transformed a 4.38 square kilometer site from desert into a space designed for Expo and beyond, including roads, hotels, public transport and 200 pavilions spread across three districts.
More than 24 million guests experienced immersive, unique and engaging experiences throughout the Expo 2020 site and within its pavilions. As the Official Projection and Display Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, Christie solutions and services helped countries and Expo engage visitors: from the Al Wasl Plaza dome and Expo Operations Centre to country pavilions, Christie technology and services worked behind the scenes to ensure a seamless Expo experience for guests.
Ahead of and during the six-month event, the Christie Professional Services team, including Dubai-based Christie engineers and repair technicians, were on call 24/7 to provide on-site service and support for its partners and solutions, which included LED video walls and related components, commissioning and testing of equipment, and the hundreds of projectors installed throughout Expo 2020.
“We had a dedicated facility on the Expo site, which we opened to support the event,” explains Josh Kolbeck, Senior Director, NOC & Business Operations, Christie. “Our technicians could respond to service calls within two hours and we could complete repairs in our facility, as we had tools and parts on-hand to ensure there were no delays.”
Service calls to Christie’s Professional Services team were managed by its Network Operations Center (NOC), via a dedicated, direct phone number. The NOC receives inbound technical requests, raises issues in an expedited fashion, and alerts technicians and engineers to ensure quick action is taken.
From there, technicians and engineers were dispatched as needed across the Expo site. “We provided spare parts, onsite diagnosis and repairs, operating guidance, and weekly courtesy visits to ensure our solutions were operating as expected,” adds Mike Fudge, project technologist, Christie.
Professional Services saves the day
With one of the largest professional services divisions within the ProAV industry, and experience across industries including cinema, enterprise and entertainment, Christie was well-positioned to support its partners and the pavilions throughout Expo.
The Professional Services team was prepared to handle the unexpected at Expo 2020, including water damage. The weather in Dubai is hot and dry, with virtually no rain year-round. When it does rain, that’s when leaks are discovered in buildings – including the Canada Pavilion at Expo.
Two weeks into Expo, the Professional Services team was called to the pavilion as one of the Christie 1DLP® projectors installed from the ceiling in the foyer had been exposed to a significant amount of rainfall. Working closely with Christie partner Electrosonic, the projector was quickly swapped out and replaced, and the wet projector sent to the Professional Services facility for repair. Within 24 hours, the projector was fixed and reinstalled – and in the meantime, an umbrella had been installed over the projector to protect against future leaks.
“Expo 2020 Dubai is arguably one of the most technologically advanced destinations on the planet, immersing guests in powerful, interactive installations. The unique space inspires visitors and guests as they embark on a new journey to build a better world and shape its future,” said Ewan Smith, Electrosonic’s Global President and Managing Director. “Electrosonic in collaboration with Christie helped to make that a reality for the Canada and Opportunity Pavilions.”
Additionally, Professional Services worked with AVI-SPL, the AV integrator responsible for the Vision and Leadership Pavilions and the Expo Operations Centre, amongst others, providing support for the Christie solutions installed.
“We collaborated with Professional Services on-site service center, ensuring a quick resolution to any issues that arose. Partnering with Christie helped us deliver experiences that allowed each guest to discover, find inspiration, and appreciate Expo 2020,” says Phil Marlowe, Managing Director, Middle East, AVI-SPL.
Al Wasl Plaza dome: The heart of Expo 2020 Dubai
The crown jewel of the Expo 2020 site is the Al Wasl Plaza dome. At 67.5 meters tall and 130 meters in diameter, it’s not only a focal point for the Expo site, it’s a feat of engineering, architecture and ProAV integration.
The dome is the largest 360-degree projection surface in the world and used 252 Christie D4K40-RGB pure laser projectors to create the dynamic backdrops to events including the opening and closing ceremonies at Expo, concerts, and National Days. To ensure that the dome looked spectacular throughout the six-month event, Professional Services worked closely with Creative Technology Middle East (CTME), the AV integrator and operator of the dome, to identify and rectify issues before they became showstoppers.
“Our staff would visit daily and discuss potential issues with CTME, then repairs would be scheduled overnight working alongside CTME’s team. This was no small feat as there was only a 3-hour window for repairs each night and boom lift access had to be managed around other support services and rehearsals,” says Fudge. “There are 42 projector pods, each containing six projectors, 25 meters up in the air. Most repairs could be carried out in-situ, but in the case of more extensive service, the projector was sent down to our facility to be repaired the next day.”
“Creative Technology had the responsibility of keeping this technology going. The Christie team were right alongside of us to make that happen,” says Andrew Nu, project manager, CTME. “We worked overnight, we did preventative maintenance - we looked at issues and fixed them together. It was a true partnership.”
“The relationship with Christie worked out very well, and they integrated with the [Expo 2020 Dubai] team very fast. And Christie’s input was very valuable across the entire journey…the expertise they brought to the table was very, very beneficial,” says Ahmed Al Khatib, chief development and delivery officer, Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo and beyond
The Expo 2020 Dubai site will reopen October 1, 2022, as Expo City Dubai, an environmentally friendly, tech-enabled ‘city of the future’, transforming pavilions into mixed-use venues, including a hotel, shopping and an exhibition center. Christie Professional Services and its Dubai-based team continue to support the site and its partners, maintaining the same level of service and support now as it provided during Expo.
“Our partners and Expo 2020 Dubai trusted Professional Services to provide an exemplary level of service during the event, and we are thrilled that we’ve been retained to continue to provide the same level of service to the Expo City Dubai site,” says Kolbeck.
“When WET uses projection in our work, it is always in a way where the audience will have no idea that what they see is projection – that’s part of our magic,” says Mark Fuller, CEO of WET. “As we create one-of-a-kind projects all around the world, Christie’s Professional Services team is an invaluable resource to us in making this happen.”
Christie Professional Services provides service and support to some of the largest events, cinemas and professional venues around the world. With the acquisition of Cinergy, Christie’s new cloud-based enterprise platform, Professional Services has advanced remote monitoring capabilities to securely connect to and monitor the health of customer’s display systems across hundreds of available data points.