Verizon Joins NORAD to Usher in Annual Christmas Santa Tracking Program
by Kevin W. Irland
Christmas traditions are practiced in many different ways. For some, it’s reading Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" or Clement Clarke Moore’s "The Night Before Christmas". While others enjoy watching "The Nutcracker" ballet or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" on television.
Yet, others maybe prefer tracking Santa’s Christmas Eve journey, compliments of the North American Aerospace Command, Verizon and the rest of the NORAD Tracks Santa team. For the 11th consecutive year Verizon employees will again join more than 1,250 Christmas Eve volunteers – including military personnel, their families and friends, and other corporate contributors – in answering calls and e-mails to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline and operations center.
To enable children around the world track Santa’s progress, Verizon is providing the toll-free hotline – 1877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723). The hotline will be in operation from 4:00 a.m. on Dec. 24 until 3:00 a.m. (Mountain Standard Time) on Dec. 25. (Callers outside North America can reach the hotline by dialing the local Colorado Springs number at 719-556-5211 using the applicable country code. International calling charges may apply.)
In addition, Verizon is providing call-handling technology, as well as its 4G LTE wireless network to help volunteers respond to e-mails and track Santa’s progress online.
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.
Also starting on Dec. 24, children can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to find Santa’s whereabouts. For children (and adults) who are more tech savvy, a free downloadable NORAD Tracks Santa mobile app (iOS, Android, Windows) is available. Santa can also be tracked via Facebook, Google+, Twitter (@noradsanta) and YouTube.
"The holiday season is a powerful reminder of the importance of giving back," said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president of public sector markets, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. "For over a decade, Verizon has been a part of the NORAD Tracks Santa team, donating a range of services that brings Santa alive to children around the globe by enabling them to speak with Santa’s helpers and track his travels online and via their mobile devices. This is a part of our Christmas tradition."
In 2012, more than 114,000 phone calls and nearly 7,000 e-mails were received and answered. The NORAD Tracks Santa website had over 22.3 million unique visitors from 235 countries and territories during December 2012.
NORAD, the binational U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for defending the aerospace of both countries, has tracked Santa for the past 58 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 organization) instead of a retailer’s special Santa hotline.
View the video below for the history of the NORAD Tracks Santa program and the technology used track Santa Claus.