12/25/2012 10:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Santa Pays a Virtual Visit to Hospitalized Kids

One of the greatest things about the holiday season is the wonder and excitement it brings to families across the world. For the past six years, Cisco has ensured that children and their families who are unable to celebrate in the comfort of their own home due to illness are able to experience some of the festive traditions this time of year brings. Cisco's annual Santa Connection Program virtually connects Santa Claus to thousands of hospitalized children worldwide. Through the magic of Cisco's video collaboration technologies (TelePresence and Jabber for mobile devices), children virtually connect to the "North Pole" and are able to share their holiday wishes and Christmas lists with Santa directly.

santausesciscovideosolutions300x200This year, I was fortunate enough to visit Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and get an early glimpse into how our Santa Connection Program will help nearly 400 kids at this hospital experience the magic of the season alongside their families. The hospitals' telemedicine area will undergo its transformation into a Winter Wonderland complete with snow, Santa's sleigh and shimmering holiday décor, all to create a place of joy for the children spending their holidays in the hospital.

In this magical room, patients connected with Santa's Workshop via Cisco Jabber for iPad and TelePresence carts, allowing these children to meet face-to-face with Santa (and his elves!). I know that the excitement and joy these children experience while speaking with Santa is a moment that will never be forgotten and Cisco is honored to be a part of this annual event.

Currently in its sixth year, this is the program's most successful season yet. Santa connects with nearly 3,000 children in 33 hospitals across the U.S. alone, and makes additional stops to other hospitals across the globe, including the UK and Ireland and Canada. With this super-speed cyber sled, children can rest assured knowing St. Nick will have enough time to make his list and check it twice!

Here's a first-hand account about Santa's recent visit to Children's of Alabama hospital in Birmingham, Alabama earlier this week! You can also read more about the program on our healthcare blog.

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