Terry Coffey writes our technical documents, press releases, a personal blog, and even has a book on Amazon. But we didn’t know he recently got a peek inside Santa’s workshop! Here’s what he learned:
Nova Sugarplum was an elf with a problem. January 13, 2013, the coordinator of Naughty/Nice Fulfillment for Santa Claus led a dedicated staff of Santa’s helpers into their newly-constructed North Pole Operations Control Center looking forward to a new and more efficient approach to Christmas preparations.
“We had really put a lot of time and effort into designing this beautiful new op center,” she recalls, “using all the latest design approaches and technology to help us keep up with a changing world.”
The new operations center was the world’s first building to receive the highest levels of certification for green (Sustainable And Naturally Totally Awesome – S.A.N.T.A) and Audio-Visual design (Coolest Latest Audio-visual Ultimate Stuff – C.L.A.U.S). It included, among other highlights, a 100 percent sustainable energy power plant, networked mobile workstations equipped with Peppermint-tooth wireless technology and lots of windows for natural daylight.
Despite all of this, however, Sugarplum knew something was wrong the second she led her staff into the new facility.
“First of all, you couldn’t see anything on our computer screens,” she recalls. “Sunlight was reflecting off of the snow and ice, and simply pouring in all the windows. And, when we weren’t dealing with glare caused by the sun, we were getting glare from Rudolph’s red nose.”
There were also problems in the main part of the operations center—the “Naughty or Nice” room. Or, as the elves call it, Santa’s Grotto.
“The mobile workstations in the Grotto were great for allowing everyone the freedom to move around, coordinate one-on-one, that sort of thing. But nobody was aware of system-wide performance and overall trends.”
These might seem like small gripes to you and me. But Christmas doesn’t just happen. When Santa Claus takes to the skies Christmas Eve, it is the culmination of a mammoth year-long operation with a schedule that is so tightly packed even a day lost can have major repercussions among children waiting for their Christmas presents.
Sugarplum immediately went to see Yukon Cornelius, a well-known consultant and integrator at the top of the world.
“I’ll have to admit, when Miss Sugarplum took me on a tour of the new place I was flabbergasted,” Cornelius recalls. “This job had been done by someone with very little expertise in Christmas, elves, daylighting or AV.”
“I felt like our number one goal was to make the place workable and livable. We had to cut that glare. But, elves love snow and the outdoors, so we also needed to keep the connection with nature afforded by all those windows.”
The solution was Draper’s dual roller motorized window shades. Each shade unit contained two shades: one with blackout fabric for when Rudolph’s red nose was flooding the area with red light, and one with a mesh duplex fabric featuring dark colors on the inside for view-through to the outside and light colors on the outside to reflect the glare from the new-fallen snow.
“The staff loved the new shades,” according to Sugarplum. “They could see their screens, and they didn’t have to wear sunglasses in to work to avoid becoming snow blind.”
But Cornelius wasn’t done yet. There was also the issue with Santa’s Grotto.
“All those elves working in there, keeping an eye on naughty and nice updates from around the world, needed to be able to track some data and see longer term trends that they just weren’t able to on their mobile workstations.” After some quick checking with Draper, Cornelius had the solution he needed.
Cornelius brought in several large Onyx screens with Draper’s High Performance XS850E viewing surface. He also chose all-new 4K projectors from Twinkle Twinkle LittleStar Projection, Ltd., and TreeTinsel blending technology.
“Now they can all see an overall system view on one giant screen, or the tiniest bits of data, hi-res maps, trends from different parts of the world projected onto separate screens,” according to Cornelius. “And the ambient light they need doesn’t cause any washout.”
“This saved our Christmas,” according to Sugarplum. “Without Yukon Cornelius and Draper, not even Rudolph could have saved us.”
But the most important vote of all, of course, has to come from Santa Claus himself. And even the big guy seemed impressed.
“Ho, ho ho,” rumbled the right jolly old elf. “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”