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Several years ago, the journalist Tom Chivers spent an admirable amount of time crunching the logistics behind Santa’s Christmas Eve (a note to any children reading this: Father Christmas exists). His analysis was based on the assumption that Santa visits the home of every Christian child worldwide.
Tom worked out that the delivery run would amount to a total just above 212 million miles, demanding a sleigh which could hit 1,800 miles per second. Worryingly, if every household on his trip left a glass of sherry out, he’d be 58 million times over the drink drive limit mandated by any country in the world…
Santa’s annual flying visits (literally) are complicated. Granted, he’s supported by elves in the run-up, through making, painting, and wrapping presents; and his sleigh is pulled by reindeer (and he needs a lot of them. Seven million in fact) presumably to save on fuel.
The one thing we can be sure of is that he’s going to need a very good control room on the 24th. He needs to map his route; look at his list, twice, to check who’s been naughty or nice (present = yes/no); make sure every child is accounted for; keep an eye on the time to align to local time-zones (so as not to arrive when the children are awake).
That’s a lot of information.
So he’ll need a fully-connected sleigh, with the functionality to share huge volumes of data in real-time, allowing the command-and-control center back at the North Pole to analyze and action the information flooding in and ensure he’s on track.
If he slips behind or veers off course, the central team need to relay this urgently, so zero latency is essential. The senior elf will need a highly trained team of supporting operatives to collaborate on the streams coming in, and have open, rapid lines of communication.
Throughout all this, given the extreme pressures on the team at the North Pole (which will evidently need some form of hyperfast internet, 5G or maybe even Elf-G, connectivity), the control room users must be able to operate with a clear head. This trip comes around once a year, and there can be no mistakes. Cognitive ergonomics will need to play a central role in the design of the control room.
Of utmost importance to the operation is a single version of the truth – everyone must see the same picture and work together to make the trip a success. The margin of error is almost non-existent when you’re managing a fleet travelling at almost one percent the speed of light.
Santa needs KVM at the North Pole, and if he’s willing to be a case study, we’ll give him the kit.