Supporting NORAD and Santa Claus tops Verizon’s wish list in 2020
With limited onsite volunteer support due to COVID-19, Verizon shares Apple iPhones with patented One Talk technology to create virtual call center
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - As the Christmas holiday approaches, Verizon is proud to announce its support of the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) Santa tracking program for the 18th straight year. NORAD knows all about the importance of Santa’s whereabouts. For more than six decades, NORAD Tracks Santa (NTS) has helped children around the globe follow Santa as he and his team of world-class reindeer fly from Sydney, Australia to New York City, and everywhere in between.
To help expand support for volunteers who want to help in a COVID-19 environment, Verizon announced its role in the sharing of Apple iPhones preloaded with One Talk Service from Verizon. One Talk establishes a virtual hotline allowing NTS volunteers to operate as if they were inside the NORAD call center. Small shifts of onsite volunteers at NORAD and offsite volunteers utilizing the One Talk technology will begin taking calls at 6 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
“It's a great source of joy for the Verizon team to volunteer alongside our partners at NORAD to help carry on the tradition of tracking Santa Claus' whereabouts around the world,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “For 18 consecutive years, it has been an honor to support NORAD and their mission to help children believe in the magic of Santa Claus and the holiday season.”
Amid the global pandemic, NORAD’s leadership has shown great care in requiring a different approach from the normally spirited, heavily populated call center, with an emphasis on protecting the health and safety of volunteers. NORAD recently announced shifts that will be open to personnel and families within the command, with much smaller groups fielding calls compared to previous years. Historically, nearly 1,500 people over 20 hours have participated in call center operations, fielding more than 154,000 phone calls, beginning at 6 a.m. Eastern on Christmas Eve.
What do you want to know about Santa?
Verizon employees and other government and corporate partners are proud to again stand with NORAD to make this magic possible. While the volunteer infrastructure looks a little different in 2020, children who contact NORAD on December 24 can still ask questions like:
- Where in the world is Santa?
- Is he close to my house?
- Does Santa have to wear a mask?
- What kind of cookies does Santa like?
- Is Rudolph leading the reindeer this year?
Tools to help you track Kris Kringle
While small shifts of volunteers will be onsite in NORAD’s physical call center, supported by Apple iPhones with Verizon’s One Talk technology, it will be more challenging this year to field calls through the hotline. Callers unable to reach a volunteer will get a recorded update on Santa’s current location.
Here is information on the hotline along with other methods children and their families are encouraged to utilize to track Santa:
Phone: The toll-free hotline – 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) – will be in operation for calls beginning at 6 AM (Eastern Time) on December 24. Program the hotline number into your Verizon phone as “NORAD Call Center.” On Christmas Eve, have your child use the voice command to call the NORAD Call Center, and enjoy NORAD’s Santa Tracker as volunteers do their best to answer your child’s pressing questions.
Internet: On December 24, families can also visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website to gain tracking information. There you’ll even find several ‘SantaCams’ on NORAD Tracks Santa’s social media pages that capture Santa’s flight through various locations around the world.
To experience the magic throughout the day, visit the website www.noradsanta.org on desktop or mobile for more fun activities. While Santa is in flight, you can see his whereabouts, play games, learn about holiday traditions around the world and dive deeper on how NORAD tracks Santa.
For more information on Santa’s whereabouts, visit https://www.noradsanta.org/ or track via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Be sure to also download the NORAD Tracks Santa mobile app (Apple or Google Play).