World Expos, or World Fairs, are one of the oldest global events in the world with a 168-year history. During this time, innovations like telephone, ice cream cones and humanoid robots have first been introduced to humankind. Expo 2020 Dubai was supposed to take place in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 it was postponed to take place from October 2021 to March 2022. Theme of the expo is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future and it has three subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. (Business Finland 2022; Expo 2020 Dubai 2022a.)
Sustainability is one of four focus areas of LAB University of Applied Sciences. LAB promotes the construction of sustainable communities and works towards enabling transition towards a carbon-neutral circular economy. Much like in the Expo 2020, new technologies and digital solutions are seen as key factors of this work. (LAB 2022.)
Finland at the Expo 2020
Finland is one of the 192 countries participating in Expo 2020 (Expo 2020 Dubai 2022a). The aim of the Finnish delegation of 120 companies, is to showcase the know-how in areas like cleantech, circular economy and renewable energy technology. (Business Finland 2021; Business Finland 2022b.)
The Finnish pavilion, Snow Cape, is open daily and it can also be visited virtually (Business Finland 2021). Link to the 360-virtual tour of the Snow cape pavilion.
Top 20 tech innovations of the Expo 2020
Organizer of the Expo 2020 have listed the key innovations of the expo. As you can imagine, with over 190 countries participating a list of 20 innovations is not a complete one, but it is a good start. (Expo 2020 Dubai 2022b.)
First innovation mentioned is the Al Wasl Plaza (Picture 2). The Dome is a center hub of the expo, but it also has a dual purpose. It is fitted with 250 state of the art projectors and the inner sealing serves as a 360-degree projection screen. During the expo different video and music shows are being showcased high above the spectators, underneath the dome that could fit the tower of Pisa under it. (Expo 2020 Dubai 2022b.)
From renewable energy technology side, Expo 2020 showcases a net-zero energy building. The Sustainability Pavilion, Terra, has 12,000 sqm of photovoltaic panels across its roof and energy trees that follow the sunlight. These solutions generate enough energy to charge more than 900 000 mobile phones (4GWh of energy per year). (Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022b; Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022c.)
At the ENOC pavilion visitors can feel the energy, during an immersive 15-minute journey that utilizes audio-visual narratives, ultrasound, sensory experiences, kinetic installations, and interactive projections. People visiting the expo can also try the world’s first compressed-air train or visit the solar powered home of tomorrow at the DEWA pavilion. (Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022b.)
A bite of future is available at the Lithuanian Pavilion where visitors can actually 3D-print food. The printed snacks have high biological value and are made from only three ingredients: cocoa butter, freeze-dried product of your choice and pea protein isolate. (Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022b.)This is just a small glimpse of the Expo 2020 and what it has to offer. Many of the pavilions can be visited virtually, so if you are interested just visit the official site of the Expo 2020 and be amazed. As it’s predecessors, the Dubai Expo 2020 will surely leave it’s mark to the history.
Ria Gynther works as an RDI Specialist in the Sustainability focus area at the LAB University of Applied Sciences. She visited the Expo 2020 Dubai in January 2022.
Business Finland. 2021. Suomi-päivä Dubain maailmannäyttelyssä – 120 suomalaisyritystä paraatipaikalla. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.businessfinland.fi/ajankohtaista/uutiset/tiedotteet/2021/suomi-paiva-dubain-maailmannayttelyssa—120-suomalaisyritysta-paraatipaikalla
Business Finland. 2022b. Nature and sustainable development. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.finland-dubaiexpo2020.com/finland/nature-and-sustainable-development.html
LAB. 2022. Circular Economy Themes. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://lab.fi/en/RDI/sustainability/sustainability-themes
Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022a. Expo 2020 Dubai story. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/understanding-expo/world-expos-history/expo-2020-dubai-story
Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022b. Expo 2020 Dubai’s 20 top tech innovations. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/news/top-tech-innovations
Expo 2020 Dubai. 2022c. Our commitment to sustainability. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/understanding-expo/expo-initiatives/sustainability-at-expo
Business Finland. 2021c. Welcome to the 360 tour. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://vod360.expo2020dubai.com/tours/VE034_finland_0310_V2_TC/index.htm
Pictures and videos
Picture 1. Business Finland. 2022a. World Expos – Innovations, Ideas, Achievements. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.finland-dubaiexpo2020.com/media/content-images/cache/aecom_expo2020event_cgi-night-shot_final-draft-1200×9999,q=85.jpg
Video 1. Expo 2020 Dubai. 2021. Explore 192 countries and celebrate a new world at Expo 2020 Dubai. Stay tuned for more to come! YouTube. [Cited 17 Jan 2022]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQqf35e8sD4&list=PLFfUFqo9mA9AxcpCZLKFzb06S0VOqpJdg&index=2