SSI Web Exclusive: Y2K+7.3-11: Are You Prepared for the March 11, 2007 Time Change?

A little over seven years ago, the chatter in the Information Technology (IT) community was all about the Y2K “bug”. Well, we survived, for the most part, thanks to the countless books, magazine articles, lectures about preparing and checking systems for this potential hiccup in technology.

Now, thanks to The Energy Policy Act of 2005, Daylight Saving Time has been extended and adjusted for at least the next two years and has the potential of causing problems and inconvenience, and possible legal exposure in many facets of our day to day lifestyle.

There’s no concern about repeating the worse case scenarios of Y2K, but users who have date and time applications could be affected unless they have prepared for March 11, 2007.

Prior to The Energy Policy Act of 2005, most of North America observed Daylight Saving Time from 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April to 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. Due to the vertical alignment of the time zones, Canada has also altered their time adjustment, but Mexico’s rules will remain the same.

Beginning this year, most of the North America will begin Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March (11th) and revert to standard time on the first Sunday in November (4th). This will give us an additional month of “daylight” time.

There’s another caveat! The new law was created as an effort to reduce the cost of energy. The savings from extending time, which was originally planned for two months, and amended to one month, was about 1/2 of 1%.  We can assume the savings from a one-month extension would be roughly half of that, .25%. Others believe that the savings could be between 1 and 3%. However, there are some in the IT community that feel that the energy and money expended in programmers will be more, while some officials feel that the extra daylight time will cause Americans to stay on the streets an additional hour, running errands, etc. and will washout the energy savings, but give the economy a little “bump”. The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress, and Congress retains the right to resume the 2006 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete, therefore possibly starting another round of re-programming! A good analysis of the Act can be found at:

Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Arizona. The Navajo Nation utilizes the Daylight Saving Time policy, even in Arizona, due to its large size and location in three states. On the other hand, the Hopi Nation, whose territory is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, has chosen not to use DST.


A Little Bit of History
Implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been laden with controversy since Benjamin Franklin first created the idea. Even today, regions and countries routinely change their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.
The United States implemented DST during both World War I and World War II.

Each year since 1966 when the Uniform Time Act was introduced, most of the country has observed Daylight Saving Time. A 1986 amendment meant that those States that recognize Daylight Saving Time move clocks forward an hour at 2.00 am on the first Sunday of April to the last Sunday in October.

Terrorists in Israel learned about the DST time rules the hard way in 1999 when a bomb they had smuggled from the West Bank (in a different time zone) exploded one hour early, killing them and not the busload of passengers they had planned to kill.

Daylight Saving Time is usually hailed by Fire Departments to get the message to consumers to change the smoke alarm batteries at home. Although 90 percent of homes have smoke alarms, about one third are estimated to have missing or flat batteries. Hopefully, the Fire Departments and battery suppliers will be geared-up to handle the change.
DST is unpopular among people working in the agriculture industry and parents of school children who have to wait in the dark for their bus for three extra weeks, because they must rise with the sun regardless of what the clock says.


Security/Fire Alarm Systems
Security and Fire Alarm Systems are vital tools for both businesses and residences and pose the highest risk of exposure to users and Integrators. Their Control Panels have onboard memory that logs openings, closings, trouble signals and alarms. All alarm control panels have a Realtime Clock Chip that was most likely installed without the new rules. During the three week period between the new and traditional DST dates, these “timestamps” will most likely be off by an hour. Also, they will be off again during the additional one week at the end of the DST period (Oct. 29-Nov. 4). This “timestamp” is sometimes used in legal matters concerning whether or not a user really turned the alarm on for the night. Also, Central Stations that process alarm signals are often positioned to receive a “timer test” during a certain window and will be calling the user if the window is not fulfilled. In this new millennium, most Central Stations are automated with custom systems that will most likely have incorporated the change. If they aren’t automated, they will have personnel on site at 2:00 am on March 11.

In addition to the internal issues, if the keypad has a clock display, it will obviously be incorrect during these periods. Many modern alarm systems can be re-programmed remotely.

If you are an end user, call your alarm company to find out what they are doing about this issue. They will have to either send a technician out or they can reprogram the system remotely. Either way, since this is a service call that is not the fault of the alarm company, you will likely be charged for the service call.

If you are an Integrator, contact your respective manufacturer as soon as possible. I have found that many technology developers have not released their plans as of this writing.


Access Control Systems
Access Control Systems (ACS) can also be a problem for users. ACS derive their time data from one of three sources: From the firmware on a stand-alone system, from the Windows® based computer connected to the ACS, or via a radio signal on a web-hosted system connected to a local cell phone tower. Steve VanTill, CEO of Brivo, Inc. stated, “This is nothing more than a simple data transfer which occurs between Brivo’s hosted applications and control panels, just like any other data transfer that is part of daily operations.  Our ability to perform this type of maintenance seamlessly on behalf of our dealers and their customers is another example of the architectural strength of Brivo’s web-hosted access control system.” If you have an ACS that is connected to a Windows® computer, you must ensure that your clock is updated. If you have a stand-alone system, contact your service provider for information on updating the clock.

ACS is likely to be the major culprit in this time change situation. If the clock does not change correctly, employees can find themselves locked outside parking lots, buildings and elevators. Conversely, these facilities will remain open an extra hour at the end of the work day! Burglars who know of this “glitch” can potentially walk through business parks trying doors until they find one unlocked.

Make sure you check with your service provider to determine the correct course of action. 

If you utilize a storage facility to store your inventory and your crew(s) goes there in the morning before starting their day, contact the management and see how they are h

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.

A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters