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Communications and collaboration services provider Avaya’s OneCloud contact centre services are enabling kids around the world to follow Father Christmas on his journey this Christmas Eve.
Avaya is supporting the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) Operations Centre at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as it monitors the whereabouts of Santa’s sleigh along its travel route.
NORAD uses artificial intelligence-powered Avaya OneCloud contact centre as a service (CCaaS) to engage in real time with millions of children, of all ages, anxiously wanting to know where Santa is and when he might reach them.
The 66th annual NORAD Tracks Santa provides updates along the route as he travels through the sky with his nine reindeer guiding the way. In 2020, despite a minimally staffed operations centre to keep members safe during the pandemic, 175 volunteers answered more than 20,000 calls searching for Santa’s location.
Available in eight languages, more than 11 million users visited the NORAD Tracks Santa website last year. At least 12.3 million Amazon Alexa device users asked, “Hey, Alexa, where’s Santa?” and more than 12,000 OnStar subscribers requested to track him.
This year, due to the pandemic, only a limited number of volunteers, including Avaya employees, will be onsite answering the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, and NORAD will again use a virtual call centre to allow more volunteers to answer calls.
However, due to the expected high call volume, any callers who are unable to reach a volunteer will receive a recorded update on Santa’s current location. The NORAD Tracks Santa website will showcase Santa’s North Pole Village, which offers a holiday countdown, games, a movie theatre, holiday music and a web store.
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OneCloud will help volunteers monitor Santa’s travels and ensure his safety using a radar, satellites, planes and ‘Santa Cams’ strategically positioned worldwide. Volunteers share that information with callers as Santa soars through the night sky across the globe.
The same Avaya Government Solutions used by NORAD Tracks Santa is also deployed by other government agencies. As a result, it has been tested by the Department of Defence Joint Interoperability Test Command and is certified to be “Santa-ready”.
According to NORAD, the call centre is the heart of its Tracks Santa programme – one that has become a multi-generational tradition for families.
“We appreciate Avaya’s support, helping the programme continue to expand each year,” said Preston Schlachter, NORAD Tracks Santa’s programme manager. “This has become a multi-generational tradition with families. We receive heart-warming feedback about this being one of people’s favourite activities to participate in, long after their kids become adults.