As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the local community, we’re delighted to be able to create and power the Winchester Round Table Santa Sleigh tracker for 2018…
Over the past couple of weeks you might have been greeted by Santa and his team of elfin helpers, visiting roads all over Winchester. Every year, the Round Table take Santa round the streets of Winchester to meet the children, each night supporting a different organisation or good cause; another way we work hard to raise money for worthy local causes. Tonight (Friday 21st) is the last night Father Christmas will be out before he returns to the North Pole ready to prepare for his big trip next week...
This year Sprechen was proud to be able to power the Santa Sleigh tracker, to help residents see exactly when Santa was approaching their road so that the little ones didn't have to wait out in the cold for too long.
We used a simple car tracker, which is available through Amazon, (https://www.amazon.co.uk/TKSTAR-TK905-Rechargable-Positioning-Waterproof/dp/B071FQNQ1L), which sends a text message back to a user with the exact location of the device.
Using the Twilio Programmable SMS service, we created a web app that sends a text message every few minutes to the tracker, and then interprets the response, letting us know the exact position of the sleigh, the battery power of the device, and the speed the sleigh is travelling at.
We then pull this into a database, and present it to the user, with a live marker on an embedded Google Map on the site, https://tracker.winchestersantasleigh.co.uk.
When the sleigh has arrived back ‘at the North Pole’, we simply turn the tracker off, and the map shows that Santa is safe and sound back in 'Lapland'.
Each year there are many messages received on social media asking where the sleigh is and exactly when it will be going down a certain road, so the biggest benefit of this tracker is giving people the ability to track the sleighs exact location. This means that the children can wait inside where it's warm until they know the sleigh is approaching! It also means that the children can follow where Santa is, and we can see how fast the sleigh is travelling.
This tracker is also particularly useful when there are traffic disruptions that delay the sleigh, which did occur on one of the nights this year.
What we can also track is the usage of the sleigh tracker itself, so we can see exactly how popular it has become in certain parts of the city. This in turn can help us to target our fundraising better in forthcoming years.
As a mum myself, I can't explain how magical it is to see my children get so excited when Santa and his sleigh start appearing in the distance, at the top of our road. My two eldest rushed out, started dancing to the music in the fake snow, and waved their little hands at Santa til he went out of sight round the corner. It's such an amazing thing to do, and all the volunteers work so hard - It really brings so much joy!
We are firm believers in supporting our local community all year round in whatever ways we can, but at Christmas time this seems even more important. This time of year is so wonderful at bringing people together and igniting people's passion for helping people and charities. We are so happy to be able to play a part in all that the Round Table Santa Sleigh do at this time of year, and help all of the local great causes and charities that these funds go towards.
Our Director, Steve, and his lovely wife even gave up their time to be Santa and Mrs Claus on various nights and witnessed first hand the community spirit that is alive and thriving in Winchester.
If you missed the fantastic Santa Sleigh this year then head over to their website and have a peek so you're ready for next year! All the information is here on the website we created for them https://www.winchestersantasleigh.co.uk/ and if you're reading this while Santa is enjoying his last route of 2018 around Highcliffe then click here and check out our tracker live in action https://tracker.winchestersantasleigh.co.uk/ !