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TTT’s gift to Santa: 5G manufacturing

A Santa Lego guy holds a wrench and is walking
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Two weeks before Christmas, Santa was full of glee.
He launched the Santa App, with help from TTT.

Unfortunately, Old Saint Nick is no good with tech
In 2018 his gift production line hit a big bottleneck 

The elves weren’t happy to pick up the slack
He hoped to speed things up with his new Santa App

But alas, one-morning last week, he puts on his glasses
And saw that the elves refused to get off their… butts

They stopped with their tinkering and refused to make toys
“We’re going on strike!” uttering all kinds of noise.

Santa called me and pleaded, “I need your aid!
I need to improve how my presents are made.”

“I respect the elves, they work through so much!
Working ‘til dawn making billions of toys and such”

“I have many Santa centres all over the land
And the elves still chisel and paint by hand”

“I spoke with them and they made things clear”
They want 5G-centred enterprise manufacturing infrastructure and technology to improve efficiency this year”

I replied, “Yes, Santa, let’s have a chat over tea,
So I can explain the huge benefits of 5G.”

What is 5G? 

5G is the next mobile network generation that promises very low latency communication and is 100x faster than 4G, its predecessor. However, 5G is more than just faster speeds and lower latency. 

A graphic detailing the benefits of 5G including massive internet of things, mission-critical control and enhanced mobile broadband.
“5G is a unifying connectivity fabric for the next decade and beyond” reported Qualcomm in their 5G whitepaper.

In the same way that 4G was the bedrock of apps like Uber, 5G could usher in a new paradigm of tech. For consumers, 5G might just mean faster phone connections but for large scale manufacturers (like Santa!), it has very big potential.

Santa’s new 5G centres

The smart factories of the future will be highly automated and interconnected hubs of production.

Right now, Santa has old-school production centres dotted around the world that rely on assembly lines of elves. From my meeting with him, it was clear that although the elves are deeply motivated by their belief in Christmas spirit, they’re frustrated they can’t work more efficiently. They often make toys faster than resources and parts can be brought in, causing them to “hurry up and wait”. The elves also found that making simple, generic gifts is monotonous and repetitive. Fortunately, TTT has a plan!

Santa’s fulfilment centres will be linked up via a private 5G network.

5G’s ultra-reliable low-latency communication means Santa’s manufacturing and distribution centres can use cutting edge technology rooted in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence. With a 5G network, Santa will radically improve two key aspects of his toy manufacturing: resource management and customized gifts.

Helping Santa’s elves with resource management 

It is a common fact that Santa’s Elves love working for the good of Christmas! They want to make gifts as fast as they can. Unfortunately, they find it frustrating when they don’t receive materials or parts quick enough to match their enthusiastic pace. To fix this, 5G will enable better resource management both on the macro level, between Santa’s centres, and on the micro levels, at every single elf workbench. 

Getting resources to the right centre at the right time

Before Santa can deliver presents to children, the gifts need to be made and wrapped. Then Santa can pick them up from the many production centres along his tour around the world. 

How much wood, paint, rubber, metal parts, glitter, fabric, backup tools, and crazy amounts of random materials are needed at each facility every day to produce billions of toys before Christmas? It would take AI to solve such a difficult logistical problem!

An info graphic showing how 5G will change different stages in factory manufacturing and assembly
The Factory of the Future as depicted CB Insights. It features Industrial Augmented Reality used by factory workers similar to how Santa’s elves will use AR in the 5G Santa centres.

Santa’s centres will be plugged into a 5G network where AI can use the huge database of information to optimise resource distribution. AI will run predictive analysis and automatically trigger the delivery of the right amount of resources to centres before the need arises. This will help prevent entire centres from grinding to a halt due to a lack of lego tires for toy cars or no varnish for rocking horses.

Once Santa’s centres have the resources they need, each elf will need access to the right materials and parts for each particular toy they make. This brings us to the next step in the supply chain!

Empowering the elves

Every elf will get a smart workbench that communicates with the main servers at the fulfilment centre. Using the 5G network, those servers can instantaneously tell self-driving resource stations to deliver both raw materials and 3D printed parts to elves where needed. This is a big change from Santa’s old assembly-line production style and will make sure elves don’t have to waste time running around for parts! The high speed and low latency of 5G enables this complicated orchestration of resources.

A workstation at Nokia’s 5G factory in Oulu, Finland showing augmented reality tools.
A workstation at Nokia’s 5G factory in Oulu, Finland. The workbenches for Santa’s elves will look similar to this one. 

Of course, in the final stage, the presents will be assembled by hand with the magic Christmas touch of the elves. When I spoke with Santa he wanted to improve the quality of the presents so we worked out a new way for elves to customize their gifts. No surprise here, it relies on 5G!

Customizing gifts 

The Santa App that TTT Studios developed in our 5 Days of Discovery allows children to send their wish list to St. Nick online – no mail necessary. We decided to integrate the Santa App into the elf workbenches to allow the elves to make their gifts custom to every child. This way, if Johnny age 5 from Edmonton, Alberta wants a blue fire truck, he might get a blue fire truck and not a generic red fire truck.

A picture from the movie "elf"  showing the workbench of the elves and shows how the gifts were generic.
The 2003 documentary “Elf” about one of Santa’s elves shows how Santa’s gifts were generic. 5G enables customizable gifts through the use of AR and smart workstations.

While the Elves carve and paint superhero figurines out of wood or stitch fabrics together into odd-shaped kites, they’ll wear an AR headset tapped into the 5G network. This headset will have a Heads UP Display (HUD) overlayed onto their desk area to guide the elf’s toy-making in real-time.

First of all, the AR headset will display the child’s wish lists so the elves know what to make. The elves will also see other information about the child including their favourite colour, preferred toys, whether they’ve been removed from the Nice List, trends of children in their age range, etc.

This way the elves will get the information they need to customize their presents in real-time and stay hands-free. The 5G network allows for information to instantaneously appear in the AR HUD that would otherwise not be taken into consideration!

A picture of a guy using a tool with an augmented reality headset  on that holographically displays useful information for him.
BMW tested using AR in their manufacturing processes and found it improved maintenance times, efficiency and, in the end, customer satisfaction. The elves are excited to use AR!

Santa and his elves want to create unique gifts for a common amazing Christmas. This way the elves avoid boring repetitive labour and can get creative and more enthusiastic. Custom gifts are hopefully just the beginning of the creative ideas Santa has in store for the future!

The future of Christmas and TTT Studios

We’re excited to see how the children of the world will react to the great new gifts that Santa’s elves can now tap into enterprise 5G manufacturing. Santa still has a lot of work to do this year but it looks like he will do just fine for Christmas in a few weeks!

I hope that he appreciated my support and that I end up on the Nice List. My only wish for Santa is that TTT’s wonderful team enjoy a well-deserved Seasonal break after working so hard as we close the office until 2020. HO HO HO!

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