Security technology for the smart cities of tomorrow

How digital innovation will make Expo 2020 Dubai a technology showcase when it comes to security.

How do you ensure the safety of millions of visitors across Expo 2020’s 4.38 square kilometer site, with security personnel able to react quickly and correctly to any incidents? – The answer lies in integrated security systems from Siemens.

Expo 2020 Dubai will be the Arab world’s largest event ever, featuring more than 200 participants, including more than 190 countries.


Event organizers are sparing no effort to ensure visitors from across the world have an unforgettable visitor experience.


The new Dubai Metro Route 2020 will whisk visitors between Dubai and the Expo 2020 campus in comfort and style. Spectacular architecture, such as Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, will provide a futuristic backdrop, with ultra-modern and innovative technologies ensuring maximum comfort and high levels of sustainability across the event’s 130-plus connected buildings.

I’ve executed many projects throughout my career, but none of them compare to Expo 2020.
Monir Kabiri, Head of the security portfolio in the MEA region with Siemens

Security at an event the size of a city 


Ensuring all visitors feel comfortable, safe and secure is a key priority for any event of this scale. Therefore, Expo 2020 has appointed Siemens as a partner to provide the security management systems. It is Monir Kabiri and his team’s task to make sure all systems deployed by Siemens are up and running when Expo 2020 starts in fall 2021. Kabiri is Head of the security portfolio in the Middle East & Asia-Pacific region with Siemens. Together with his team, he is responsible for all Siemens security systems at the Expo 2020 site, which is roughly twice the size of Monaco.


“I’ve executed many projects throughout my career, but none of them compare to Expo 2020,” says Kabiri. “Not only because of its sheer size, but because Siemens will thoroughly interconnect a large number of Expo’s security subsystems. We will be deploying a combination of proven technologies and new innovations, which we will then use on smart city campuses around the world.”

Thousands of cameras and access control points – one single user interface

At the heart of Expo’s security infrastructure is Siveillance Control Pro, Siemens’ security management system (SMS). The SMS holds all security-relevant information, including footage from roughly 15.000 surveillance cameras and data from 3.500 access control readers. This also includes information from Expo’s fire-alarm system, various communication systems, data from the vehicle and person location systems, as well as video analysis powered by artificial intelligence (AI) engines.


“By linking data from numerous sources, we can conduct extensive situation analyses,” Kabiri explains. “All relevant information is available to the Expo Command and Control Centre at all times.”

By linking data from numerous sources, we can conduct extensive situation analyses.
Monir Kabiri, Siemens

The SMS can immediately localize an on-site incident, while also preparing an appropriate response. Live footage from the corresponding surveillance cameras, as well as the status of doors and access control systems in the immediate vicinity, are displayed to the control-center operator. 


To ensure the operator can respond appropriately, under stress and time pressures, Siveillance Control Pro delivers pre-defined, scenario-based workflows. These can range from calling the emergency-response center, dispatching the nearest security personnel, or safely evacuating entire areas. These Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) vary according to the nature of the incident. 

Informed anywhere and anytime 

Security personnel patrolling the Expo 2020 site will have access to the Siveillance Control Pro mobile app. “We are placing digitalization in the hands of security personnel,” says Kabiri. “Thanks to this app, on-site security personnel will essentially have the same information as the Expo Command and Control Centre, with direct access to images from the surveillance cameras and the ability to raise or manage any alarms.”

Additionally, the Expo Command and Control Centre will always know the location of security personnel and can automatically summon those nearest to an incident. “Using GPS navigation, the app guides security personnel on the shortest path to an incident location, saving critical time during the response of an incident,” Kabiri explains. 


With status reports and photos transmitted to the Expo Command and Control Centre via the app, the operator at the Expo Command and Control Centre is always kept up to date, ensuring an informed decision is always made, e.g. whether or not to evacuate a building.


Security infrastructure to remain

The security solutions from Siemens are not only designed to meet event-specific requirements. They will be repurposed to support Expo 2020’s legacy project, the human-centric smart community of District 2020, an innovation-driven ecosystem and mixed-use development that will evolve in Dubai South after the World Expo closes its doors on 31 March 2022.


“The future of Expo’s built infrastructure has been considered since the beginning of the project” says Kabiri. “For example, given buildings will have different owners with a different purpose, we have installed standalone access control systems on-site. However, during event time, the site wide operation of access management will be controlled centrally.”

The future of Expo’s built infrastructure has been considered since the beginning of the project
Monir Kabiri, Siemens

Finding a solution that meets both use cases was a unique challenge. “Never before have we had the opportunity to develop a solution of this kind”, says Kabiri, noting that he and his team completed the task through Siveillance Identity, the identity data management system from Siemens.

Siemens MindSphere creates new possibilities

During Expo 2020, data will be exchanged between the security management system and MindSphere, Siemens’ cloud-based, open Internet of Things (IoT) operating system. “Through MindSphere, relevant alarms, events and notifications can be used by other third party applications, providing added value in assessing situations,” Kabiri explains.


“Preparations for Expo 2020 have been running for some time and we are delighted the World Expo will take place following a one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he continued. “Our systems are already operational, and we are using the time before Expo’s October 1st 2021 opening date to test each of them thoroughly.”

June 21, 2021

Picture credits: Expo 2020 Dubai, Siemens

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date at all times: everything you need to know about electrification, automation, and digitalization.