Pylon One: UN Climate Change Conference 26



The overall scale of the event, with the footprint covering the entire Scottish Event Campus (SEC), including permanent venues and buildings as well as car parks.

Approximately 60% of the COP26 event spaces built as temporary structures on the SEC car parks.

An extremely secure, temporary infrastructure, distributing connectivity, on wired and wireless networks, to the 13,000 users on site each day, with 20,000 concurrent devices on the wireless network alone.

A global leaders’ summit with 120 world leaders.

Delivering the event during a pandemic and under local, national and international Covid restrictions.

Recognising the requirements of sustainability and building this into all areas of the delivery.


IDENTITY The pioneers of human experience, an internationally recognised, high performance full-service global agency, renowned for quality execution of large-scale events, were tasked to deliver COP26 on behalf of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UNFCCC.

Initial discussions for the project were held in 2019 with the 2020 event postponed due to Covid and rescheduled for November 2021. The delegate demographic, nature of the event site and complexities of the UNFCCC requirements demanded a network infrastructure that was effective, reliable and extremely secure.

Pylon One – Scale | Secure | Sustainable

The Pylon One team combines 30+ years of event industry experience with unrivalled networking expertise and are well versed in delivering robust and reliable, highly secure event communication infrastructures at venues around the world.

The team were responsible for delivering all IT requirements for COP26, including wired and wireless networking, the site wide print solution and over 600 laptops needed to deliver these services across the event site. Design and planning commenced in earnest in the spring of 2021, with the requirement to create a temporary world-class venue.

This determined that works started onsite in August, to be ready for the event in late October. The event commenced with a week of pre-sessional meetings, followed by a further two weeks of the main conference, that also included the three-day world leaders’ summit.

The Pylon One team worked across the SEC, with 20-30 engineers on site, culminating in all systems being ready and fully operational for the UNFCCC pre-sessional meetings, exceeding the UNFCCC expectations at every turn.

CISCO systems, a Pylon One partner and event sponsor, worked closely with the team to support onsite network delivery. This partnership also proved invaluable in working through unprecedented supply chain issues due to Covid and a major global shortage of many of the key network components.

The relationship with CISCO meant that $5M+ of new equipment was delivered, configured and installed on time.

Pylon One also worked closely with Vodafone, as the HMG contracted ISP, in the provisioning, testing and operation of the internet connectivity for the event.

At a glance…..

  • 126 days on site, 1,285 working days in total
  • Over 8,000 managed switch ports
  • 21 Km fibre optic cable installed
  • 120 Km copper network cable installed
  • 600+ wireless access points
  • 4 x 10Gbps of resilient bandwidth


#OneStepGreener encourages people to take actions that have a positive impact on our environment, so it was imperative that Pylon One not only delivered a robust network but in a manner that also achieved sustainability.

To this end, many additional hours of planning ensured that all equipment and cabling would be reused, recycled or maintained as legacy by the event venue, the SECC.

This guaranteed that COP26 would be an award-winning sustainable event.

Identity have worked very well with Pylon One in recent years. The Pylon One team at COP26 did not disappoint. Not only did they deliver within the timescales given, they actually delivered more than we or our client anticipated! This was a massive event, but they took it in their stride and were an integral part of, and contributor to the wider Identity team. Simon Dunnell Identity

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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