It’s a well-established fact that Santa is an early technology adopter, especially when it comes to data and analytics. From SOA to MDM, Santa is on the cutting edge.
He has to be. In the old days, there were plenty of elves and, frankly, a lot fewer children. Also, most of the believers were even geographically co-located, in Medieval Europe, although, even then, he apparently also helped “unbelievers” in times of need.
But times have changed. The world’s population exceeds 7 billion, and children of all backgrounds across the globe will expect a visit from the Jolly Old Elf this year.
Estimates vary about how many children Santa visits, in part because experts disagree about what age range he covers, but 1.6 to 2.2 billion is a safe range bet.
At a mere 1.6 billion children, Santa needs to visit 5,556 homes every second, according to numbers from the Big Bank UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Obviously, you can’t achieve those kinds of numbers without serious IT expenditures.
“Because the number of children has quadrupled in the last hundred years, Santa Claus needs all the IT power he can get his hands on to make sure every deserving child gets a gift on Christmas,” confides finance writer Alex Hillsberg.
Santa’s data management and analytics infrastructure is a carefully guarded secret, but Hillsberg shared a few estimates from the Ruby Media Corporation and Finance.Online.com this year:
- Santa’s “naughtiness” database would cost an estimated $12 billion to build.
- The cost of crunching all that data? About $1.6 billion.
- The advanced analytics tool now required to map Santa-approved gift ideas to children is worth approximately $18.6 billion.
That’s an estimated $32 billion in data investments alone, and that doesn’t begin to count sensors or other Internet of Things technologies. All in all, experts estimate the North Pole’s entire technology investment for operations is $227 billion.
Even though experts regularly try to puzzle out what might be deployed in Santa’s information management system, the details remain top secret.
This year, however, Santa’s Chief Data Scientist shared a few metrics from Santa’s in-house data analytics during a recent interview with Sarah Lang of RJ Metrics. Among the insights shared:
- The launch of MTV caused a spike in naughtiness that outranked Elvis’ first hit and the Beatles coming to America.
- A research study showed Naughtiness recidivism actually improves when Santa leaves coal, rather gifts.
“With over 95% statistical confidence, Santa proved that naughty children who receive coal in their stocking are less likely to be naughty in the following year than children who do not,” she (that’s right: Santa’s data scientist is a woman) said.