The COP26 summit was much more than headline negotiations between global leaders. It included 85 country and NGO pavilions and hundreds of corporate events, along with YOUNGO, the Official Children’s and Youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Among calls for action from global leaders at COP26, this was an opportunity to network, share ideas, listen to fresh perspectives, and reach a new audience through global media coverage.

This meant connecting people in-person and virtually, providing in-room and virtual voting, and generating live translations of meetings for delegates from nearly 200 countries.


Building contingency with a hybrid option

Cisco technology underpinned the entire COP26 experience. The Glasgow, Scotland, site featured a Cisco network with a digital operations centre onsite. Hybrid and virtual events were enabled through Webex and Legislate for Webex, developed by Cisco’s partners, Davra and ITGL.

Network connectivity was provided to every corner of the site, including two plenary halls, vast tented areas, logistics depots, dozens of shipping containers used as temporary offices, and a nearby hotel. In total, more than 600 Cisco access points were installed, both indoors and out. 

“We wanted this to be an inclusive COP, and we also had to build in flexibility and contingency.”

– Helen Wright, COP26 Head of Events (Venue Operations and Digital Platform)

Importantly, Cisco’s Takeback and Reuse programme, part of the company’s Circular Economy principles, ensured all network infrastructure components could be returned and used again, meeting COP26’s sustainability criteria.

“Together for our Planet” posters

Summarising the success of the event, Helen Wright stated: “Operationally, there is a huge amount we can be proud of. Post-event, we’re excited about the upward trajectory of digital functionality. We’ve demonstrated there are many ways technology can enhance the live event experience, not simply act as a contingency.”

She continued, “It’s clear from the COP26 experience that in-person meetings are needed to reach agreement. But it is not an either-or situation. As COP26 showed, a strong virtual/digital element to in-person meetings can help increase success.”

Read how Cisco technology underpinned the entire COP26 experience and how COP26 set new records in terms of diversity of voices and social content shares.


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Yolanda Andreuccetti

Customer Advocacy and Stories Manager

Corporate Marketing - EMEAR