Tuesday, 22 December 2015 14:16

Verizon helps NORAD track Santa on Christmas Eve on 60th anniversary! Featured

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NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command is getting a bit of telecommunications assistance from US telco Verizon in NORAD’s yearly mission to track Santa Claus’ Christmas Eve journey around the world.

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.’

That’s the tranquil scene described by Clement Clarke Moore in his classic poem from 1822.

Now, in a digital era marked by high-speed broadband and a variety of mobile devices, children – one and all – can track Santa Claus. All with the touch of a button on a screen, or the click of a mouse!

Santa’s journey will unfold on Christmas Eve, courtesy of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Verizon and the rest of the NORAD Tracks Santa team.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the NORAD Tracks Santa program.

For the 13th consecutive year, Verizon employees will join more than 1,500 Christmas Eve volunteers — including military personnel, family members and friends, and other corporate contributors — in answering phone calls and emails to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline and operations centre.

Verizon provides the toll-free hotline and call-handling capabilities, as well as its 4G LTE wireless network to help volunteers answer phone calls to the hotline, respond to emails, download apps and track Santa’s progress.

Children around the world have multiple ways to monitor Santa’s progress as he makes his Christmas Eve journey around the world, although time zone differences likely mean the easiest way will be to visit the Track Santa website, which customises itself to the timezone your computer is in.

That said, and ensuring you take your own time zone differences into account, here are the ways NORAD says you can get in contact:

  • Email: Starting on Dec. 24, children can send an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com to find Santa’s whereabouts.
  • Web: Beginning at 12:01 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, children can visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website to see real-time information, including radar maps and streaming “SantaCam” video. Information will be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian, Portuguese and Chinese.
  • Mobile and Social: For children (and adults) who are tech savvy, a free downloadable NORAD Tracks Santa mobile app (iOS, Android, Windows) is available. Santa can also be tracked via FacebookGoogle+Twitter (@noradsanta) and YouTube.
  • Phone: The toll-free hotline — 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) — will be in operation beginning at 4 a.m. (Mountain Standard Time) on Dec. 24. (Callers outside North America can reach the hotline by dialling the local Colorado Springs number at 719-556-5211 using the applicable country code. International calling charges may apply.)

Last year, over a 23-hour period on Dec. 24, nearly 135,000 phone calls and over 6,500 emails were answered. During the month of December 2014, the NORAD Tracks Santa website had nearly 21.8 million unique visitors from 234 countries and territories.

NORAD, the binational U.S.-Canadian military organisation responsible for defending the aerospace of both countries, has tracked Santa for the past 60 years. The NORAD Tracks Santa tradition began in 1955 after a misprinted advertisement directed children to call the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD’s predecessor organisation) instead of a retailer’s special Santa hotline.

Visit NORAD’s YouTube page to learn how the NORAD Tracks Santa phenomenon began, and check out NORAD Tracks Santa for a history of the program and the technology used to track Santa Claus.

Here’s the 2014 trailer and following that another NORAD YouTube video:

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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