As Europe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, countries had to react quickly to accommodate surges in critically ill patients. With hospitals overwhelmed, it became an all hands on deck moment for cities, communities, governments, and businesses. Spain was one of the hardest hit countries. With patient cases soaring in Madrid and elsewhere in the country, the government reached out to IFEMA, Madrid’s highest grossing exhibition venue, to turn its state-of-the-art pavilion into a 5,500-bed field hospital.

Exterior entrance into IFEMA exhibition venue in Madrid, Spain
Madrid’s IFEMA exhibition venue shares public service announcement signage at its entrance.

Cisco, along with partner NTT, worked with IFEMA to set up a secure wireless network powered by Cisco solutions that gave doctors immediate access to patient records from anywhere in the fairground. During the first wave of the pandemic, more than 4,000 patients were hospitalized in the IFEMA venue. Learn more about the technology deployment.

Eduardo López-Puertas, General Manager for IFEMA, noted: “We are quite proud of our achievement, to know that 4,000 people were hospitalized here, and that today they are home thanks in part to IFEMA’s quick implementation of these solutions.”

Get a firsthand look at the transformation from exhibition center to field hospital. With a scalable, adaptable network infrastructure now in place, IFEMA will one day return to hosting some of the world’s largest events. But for now, they stand ready to serve Madrid in whatever capacity needed in this new normal.


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Ann Kelly

Communications Manager

Global Advocacy