Santa Claus Uses Atollogy’s Computer Vision to Enforce Social Distancing & Mask Wearing

North Pole Times Investigation Reveals Large Pandemic Outbreak Averted

Over the last month, The North Pole Times has reported several pandemic outbreaks North of the Arctic Circle. The paper’s investigative reporters visited Santa Claus’s North Pole toy workshop this week to determine if adequate safety measures were in place to avoid a work stoppage so close to Christmas.

In an in-depth interview, Kris Kringle, who goes by the stage name of Santa Claus, admitted that his North Pole operations were struggling to enforce social distancing and mask wearing. Elves by their nature are very sociable folk who enjoy chatting and gossiping while assembling toys.  The elf managers first tried to encourage social distancing by laying out new workstations six feet apart, but the clever elves quickly found ways to move them closer together.

Santa then decided to engage a prestigious consulting firm to conduct traditional industrial engineering analysis to solve social distancing issues. Using clip boards and stop watches, the consultants offered a series of improvements after presenting their six-figure invoice. Unfortunately, the consultants did not factor in the Hawthorne effect – the age-old problem that initial improvements typically subside once the consultants stop watching and depart, allowing workers to revert back to their old practices. The elves reverted back to their old ways within a few weeks. 

In desperation, Santa asked Atollogy to deploy its computer vision system using A.I. and deep learning algorithms. The elf managers positioned the cameras in the areas where the elves tended to gather too closely.  Unlike labor-intensive manual observations by over-worked elf managers asked to cover wide areas of operations, Atollogy automated the observation and alerting process and did it on a 24 x 7 basis. The alerts were accompanied by time-stamped pictures of the actual violations, which ended any arguments about the who’s and when’s of the social distancing violations.

Because Atollogy’s solution is continuous, the Hawthorne effect was easily defeated.  The elf managers had been coached by Santa not to use the new system to punish employees, but instead use it to provide positive suggestions on why social distancing was critical in keeping family and friends safe, and toy production at peak capacity during this critical time.

Beyond social distancing, even the most experienced elf managers were surprised by the new insights that continuous monitoring and analytics provided.  Using the new data, managers were able to shift workers quickly when the lines became unbalanced.   

Santa acknowledged an unexpected benefit in improved safety and security from Atollogy’s computer vision. Because Atollogy’s cameras never take a break or blink, his managers were able to spot unwanted visitors, contractors who overstayed their scheduled times, maintenance crews napping on the job, and a wide variety of safety violations.

Thanks to Atollogy’s revolutionizing his North Pole toy operations, Santa is now confident in keeping his elves healthy while meeting his very demanding toy production schedule.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Atollogy Team



Anthony Tarantino, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Santa Clara University – Lean Six Sigma and Smart Manufacturing

Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Certified Scrum Master, CPIM (APICS), CPM (ISM)

Senior Industry Advisor to Atollogy