In 2017, Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, hosted a global Expo for more than 120 countries to build community, foster understanding, and more closely examine the idea of infinite energy – a reference to the region’s vast natural resources. America’s contribution was guided by a public-private partnership between the US Department of State and USAP Expo 2017, a nonprofit selected to design, build, and operate the USA Pavilion.
BRC Imagination Arts produced and filmed the creative narrative for the USA Pavilion and called in TechMDinc to deliver the technical audio and video components. The three-part experience began with student ambassadors welcoming visitors to the USA Pavilion. Guests then entered the Pavilion’s main exhibition with a three screen surround audio video show that included live dancers and an original score. Next, they moved through the exit hall, a gathering place with kiosks and displays from various US companies, as well as a large, interactive touch screen display providing a way to engage with sponsors. The final space was a lounge and operations center that also served as a board room with a full audio video system to support presentations and special events for the duration of the Expo.
Though TechMDinc regularly designs incredibly complex audio video systems with single-button show control, the Astana Expo 2017 presented a number of unusual challenges. Going beyond the expertise required to support the visitor experience and BRC’s story effectively, the TechMDinc team managed language, construction, and transportation complications. Every drawing that provided directions for technical set up had to be completely language agnostic and the process required detailing every aspect about wiring and installation, including many items that would be assumed in the US or Europe. Because the USA Pavilion was a temporary installation, every cable had to be shipped in to the site: there was no facility wiring infrastructure or facility wiring contractor. In addition, limited local rental stock required the purchase and shipment of equipment from the USA that would normally be rental items. As a result, all of the electronics cabinets were assembled and tested in TechMDinc facilities in Burbank, CA, along with projectors, displays and touch panels. Once the cargo made it to Astana, local workers would install the equipment.
But first, the team had to get the equipment to Astana. Just one week before TechMDinc planned to ship the audio video hardware, they learned that cargo planes were no longer being allowed into Kazakhstan in order to provide extra passenger service for the expected influx of Expo attendees. The team had just seven days to reconfigure their deliverables to fit into airline shipping containers on commercial jets. The 6.5 foot equipment racks were replaced with 3.5 foot racks. Power strips that run 5.5 feet were traded out for shorter power strips and installed horizontally. All of the assemblies and packaging required a complete revision before it could be shipped out.
TechMDinc met the challenges of Expo 2017 with creativity and dogged determination. Their dedication meant that the 3.86 million people who visited the Expo were able to fully experience the magic of BRC’s story when they toured the USA Pavilion at Astana.