Track Santa with NORAD, OnStar, social media
Christmas is just three days away and children all over the world are counting down the hours until the festivities begin, and technology has become so advanced today that they can actually track Santa’s route via the Internet. OnStar-connected vehicles and their passengers can now follow Santa’s journey while road tripping across their state for a family gathering, simply by pushing the OnStar button and asking for a Santa update.
OnStar has linked up with NORAD’s (North America Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker, which for the last 50 years, has helped kids stay informed about Santa’s route on Christmas Eve. The NORAD tradition began in 1955 when a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertised to children to call Santa at a misprinted telephone number. Instead of reaching the North Pole, kids were put through to the CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command) Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Direction of Operations at the time was Colonel Harry Shoup and he had his staff check the radar to Santa’s whereabouts, which was updated when kids called.
According to Wired.com, “Kris Kringle’s Star Duster 5000 sleigh includes reindeer health diagnostics to alert him to any hungry or knackered reindeer, turn-by-turn navigation to help him find the homes of all those good little boys and girls and, of course, hands-free calling. We don’t want him taking his hands off the reins if Mrs. Claus is calling to check up on him.”
In addition to tracking Santa on the NORAD, Google Earth is also available to help kids track his flight. Kids can still call NORAD at 1-877-HI-NORAD from 4:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve to 5 a.m. on Christmas Day. Kids can log on to NORAD’s Facebook page, Twitter account, and Picasa photo album. Who knew the big jolly man would be so up-to-date with social media in between all of the gift giving around the world?
To find out more about the OnStar capabilities, watch the YouTube video here.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”