How Santa got smart: Project e-elf 2016

Santa’s indulgent lifestyle has caught up with him but he’s getting fit, thanks to the Internet of Things

The following is a contributed article by the microprocessor designer, ARM


Christmas Eve, 2016: Santa sat in his armchair gazing into the log fire, thinking of pies and sherry and what his doctor was going to say in January. There’s reason to hope this year, he thought; the summer exercise routine had got him fitter than ever. He smiled to himself as he glanced down at his smartwatch’s heart rate monitor, blinking out 72 beats per minute. A far cry from what it used to be.

“Time to validate your blood pressure dear. And how about a little slice of carrot cake?” said Mrs. Claus as she waddled into the room.

I know what I’m going to buy her this year, Santa thought to himself: a fitness tracker. She’s 412 years old and she’s not getting any younger!

It’s true, Mrs. Claus had been suffering from the modern curse of office life. She spent far too much time staring at a computer, in meetings and snatching unhealthy lunches. Out in the world, everyone thinks Santa runs the operation, and that certainly used to be the case. But ever since they’d decided on the Santa 2.0 project, Mrs. Claus’ PhD in electronic engineering had come in really handy when setting up the new smart present factory.

Santa looked up from his smartwatch, chiding himself for worrying about his wife’s health. Without her and the new connected factory he really wouldn’t have had the time for his own health kick.

“I’d love a little bit of cake,” he thought. “I’ll pop it into my calorie tracker.”

He starts entering… carrot cake, small slice and the total for the day ticks up to 750 calories.

“That’s okay,” he thought to himself, “still another 1500 to go!”

Taking his chance, he looked up at Mrs. Claus and offhandedly remarked:

“How about we make a deal? If I get through the medical this year with flying colors, how about we both start a new fitness regime?”

“Cheeky! Don’t you worry about me Santa; get yourself in condition - I’ll be fine.”

As she bent down to give her husband the tray she felt the rather too comfortable rolls cascading over her skirt. “I’m catching my husband up…” she thought to herself.

“You know what, you’ve got a deal. And in return for my soon-to-be beach body I’ll spend some of my bonus taking us both somewhere warm to lay on a beach. I quite fancy the idea of Hawaii…”

“Deal!” said Santa as he clicked open his blood pressure app. The little armband sat snuggly under his clothes and synced his smartphone every morning and evening. Ping and forget… until he got a text telling him to read his emails for the latest health report. He’d only been called twice by his doctor…

Back in the factory, Bushy Evergreen, head of engineering, was pacing around the large boardroom table. His engineers watched him expectantly.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to push Christmas 2016 into the history books,” he said. “The year when we get zero complaints.”

“New hybrid sleigh fully tested sir,” one of the elves reported. “We flew it to Helsinki and back earlier today. The ADAS (Advanced Deer Adaptive System) sensing radar is optimized so the big fella won’t be hitting any gift delivery drones, the batteries are fully charged and the backup petrol tank is full. We’ve given it a good dose of magic powder so it’ll run all night. We’ve also tested the naughty/nice metadata reader. It’s connecting to all local parent stress monitors and we’re set. Mind you the readings aren’t great… might be a few disappointed kids tomorrow.”

At that moment, Santa wandered in, still munching on his carrot cake. “Just thought I’d check in how we’re doing?”

“Santa,” said Bushy. “We are set for the most magical Christmas ever. And, the best thing is we’ve got here much easier than ever before…who’d ever have thought that Big Data could be so fun?”