Norbert Riepl


A digital Christmas: a few tips from the world’s best known shipper

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I´m dreaming of a digital Xmas

Way back when Bing Crosby was dreaming of a white Christmas, he had no idea of how complex the task of getting Christmas goods to arrive on time would become. And one particularly large-scale Christmas shipper, with operations based at the North Pole, realized he needed to deploy his scarce resources more efficiently.  It was at that moment that the digital Christmas was born. I have listed five episodes on how Santa Claus manages to ward off his pre-Christmas stress.

You see Santa and a childish elve in bright light, optimizing their logistics with IoT-solutions.

The Internet of things supports Santa Claus and his helpers.

  1. Long before Santa Clause begins the work on delivering his gifts all over the world, he needs to ensure that his inventory is checked thoroughly. The elves commissioned with the task wear special gloves with scanners integrated into them. That means the gifts on the table can be recorded simply at the wave of their hands. That allows Father Christmas to identify bottlenecks quickly and to plan his manufacturing processes more effectively. By the way, his manufacturing work goes on all year round, Generating an equally impressive mountain of data  to accumulate, which he stores in the Cloud of Things.
  2. The elves do not fall from all clouds when faced with so much data: they receive their orders from the Cloud. Even though they are familiar with every move their production lines make, the machines have to be kept in perfect working order. If that didn’t happen, production would fall behind schedule and Christmas would have to be postponed. And clever and all as Santa Claus is, he has an overview of all his machinery. It doesn’t matter whether it’s toys, jewelry or the delicious cinnamon cookies his angels bake for him: the fact that he has Predictive Maintenance means the maintenance elves can be called in long before the machine breaks down.
  3. The goods produced in his factory are transported into the storehouses by authorized elves. Back in the old days all they needed was a single key. To respond to the huge scale of today’s operations, Santa Claus controls access to the warehouses using digital keys. Anything left outside the warehouses can be found speedily using drones. Smartphone cameras can recognize both printed and handwritten numbers, allowing artificial intelligence to assign them correctly. Specialized transport robots move everything around the enormous factory space  entirely automatically, thanks to the campus network.
  4. Ensuring that the gifts get to where they’re supposed to go is a real challenge. A single sled is no longer anywhere close to being enough to do the job. Santa runs an entire fleet of sleds. And a correspondingly large number of reindeers need to be kept in readiness to spring into action. And to make sure they can take off safely into the Christmas sky from the icy runways they all have to be shod with perfectly fitted reindeer shoes. That’s taken care of in the elfin smithy. But if he’s running low on shoes, he can re-order them in the blink of an eye using his IoT service button. The system ensures that every sled takes off safely.
  5. But what about the task of ensuring they all land on schedule? To be sure of that, Santa Claus has been collecting together all transport data from the very beginning of his activities. He passes all that data into his data intelligence hub. Information from the worldwide weather service is also fed into the system. Because he knows the sleds run that much faster when the snow is gently falling. Feedback from child and adult gift receivers flows back into the hub too. And all that data can provide the basis upon which to plan almost to perfection the gift delivery operation. 

Find out what happens after all that in the next blog. Watch this space.