With 2 billion customers to deliver to, and just one night to do it, Santa’s operations are, if anything, the true definition of at-scale. Yet with the world’s population growing by roughly 83 million people per year,[1] Santa will need some serious help and logistics overhaul to keep up with his operations.

The data requirements of Santa’s ventures are both massive and complex – ingesting billions of simultaneous requests, processing diverse data sources for predictive analytics while achieving same-day delivery in multi-national locations. So how can he best transform his operations in the digital age?

As an industry leader in data infrastructure from edge to cloud to core, we put our heads together to offer Santa some help.

Santa's IoT data journey

From a Single Sleigh to an Autonomous Fleet

Navigating between cellphone towers, bird flocks and aircraft is no simple task. Autonomous vehicles are gaining momentum particularly due to their ability to improve traffic flow and prevent accidents using edge computing. Hopefully, Santa and his reindeer will also see a 75% reduction of accidents[2] by leveraging edge safety features.

Santa Clause IoT data journey autonomous dronesBut even the smoothest ride won’t allow Santa to keep delivering on time using just his traditional sleigh. To keep up, he’s going to need faster delivery capability, and drones are positioned as the perfect technology to give him the aerial advantage he needs. Drones can be particularly effective by using a swarm to simultaneously reach multiple houses in large urban areas. Santa’s drones can be equipped with on-board cameras and built-in AI to detect severe delivery obstacles (like awake children) and automatically re-schedule delivery for peak REM sleep time.

In fact, this type of edge processing is already happening today. See how smart video is changing the edge.

Smart Factory! The Elves’ Workshop Gets Intelligence

It doesn’t make it to the news very often, but every year near Christmas, Santa’s elves get a bit cranky, due to the incredible workload and over-hours it takes to create and deliver all those presents on time.

Thankfully, we’re seeing the rise of smart factories, characterized by intelligent production and fueled by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud, and big data. Smart factories are all about using data to be more efficient and helping the elves focus on what matters most – innovation! Here are a few suggestions on how the elves’ workshop can get intelligent:

  • Mobile devices on the shop floor enable elves to move along the assembly line, receiving data that is relevant to where they are and what job they are doing at any given time.
  • A digital assistant on the factory floor continually collects and analyzes data helping identify production issues earlier (no more one-legged nut crackers!)
  • Predictive data models allow elves to begin toy construction even before the children’s wishlists arrive. The factory can be more productive year-round, alleviating peak production stress.

We, too, leverage IIoT, cloud, analytics, and AI to enable Western Digital’s Smart Factories – see how our smart factory works.

Santa's IoT data elves on their IoT journey

The IoT Journey

In every step of Santa’s journey, IoT plays a key role. Each new technology is fueled by a broad range of data collected across connected sensors, devices, people and processes. Some areas are straightforward, like sleigh maintenance that can be highly improved by collecting distance and performance data. Or using sensors to help load it more evenly (no more tipping over!).

Santa's IoT data journey - Giving an elf his listWith everything connected, Santa can now ensure chimneys are passable before entering, take advantage of track and trace capabilities to avoid accidental double delivery, or dynamic routing using live weather data, air traffic patterns and bedtimes ensure a smooth delivery through the night.

Our ability to bring more processing power and intelligence into smaller devices is key to helping Santa do his job better, and keeping his reindeer safe. Read how you can get more from IoT data at the edge and in the cloud, too.

What if Santa Got a Tech Upgrade? Check out the full infographic at DataMakesPossible.com/santa-smart-tech and have a wonderful holiday!

[1] https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2017.html

[2] https://datamakespossible.westerndigital.com/value-of-data-2018/how-edge-processing-may-save-your-life/