BrainTrust Query: Is Daylight Saving Time a Y2K Redux?
By Bill Bittner, President, BWH Consulting
Depending on your perspective, the relatively quiet transition that all our computers made into the 21st Century was because of brilliant planning by the IT specialists or a case of over-anticipation for a first time event. Maybe that explains the complacency surrounding this year’s shift in the start of Daylight Saving Time.
Standard time zones were introduced in Canada and the United States by the railroads in 1883. After a few false starts, Daylight Saving Time was first instituted by law during WWII in 1942. The national standard expired in 1945. It was not until 1966 that a standard for start and stop dates was re-established but individual localities were still allowed to decide whether or not they would implement Daylight Saving Time. Hawaii, most of Arizona, and Indiana were the last holdouts until 2006 when Indiana adopted it, leaving only Hawaii and Arizona on year-round standard time.
In 2005, Congress voted to change the start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time beginning in 2007. As of this year, Daylight Saving Time begins the second Sunday in March (March 11) and ends the first Sunday in November (November 4). The extra period of Daylight Saving Time is meant to reduce energy consumption. The last time there was a change was 1987.
Since 1987, a lot more automated devices have been put into place and their
designers have attempted to make them “more intelligent.” The basic question
is, “Have they made them intelligent enough?” Will all your time clocks, order
polling and security systems advance their clocks properly on March 11? Will
alarms go off when your store employees try to get in an hour ahead of the
security clocks? More significantly, will the clocks leave the time alone when
the old effective date, the first Sunday in April, comes around?
Questions: Was the Y2K event overblown? With that impression, are we being
too complacent about Daylight Saving Time? Have you done anything to prepare
for the change?
It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. The short
answer is that if you have been maintaining the updates on your computer
operating system and applications you should not have any problems. The longer
answer is that it will take some time to determine whether all your software
is up to date. For those non-critical applications, if you think you’re OK,
you may as well just wait and see what happens. If you have a really critical
situation, you might want to try a test run by changing the date and time
on your computer and see what it does when it turns from 1:59 AM to 2:01
AM on March 11.
The problem is that if you have any “calendar driven events” in your system, you may not be able to do this test without backing up the whole system and restoring it afterwards.
Since many of us run the Windows operating system, I have included a link
to the Microsoft discussion of the issue along with a link to the general description
of Daylight Saving Time.
- Preparing for Daylight Saving Time changes in 2007
- When Does Daylight Time Begin and End? – U.S. Naval Observatory