Daylight Saving Time Can Harm Business Intelligence and Data

by Alena SemeshkoMarch 24, 2008

From here:

“Widespread confusion was created during the 1950s and 1960s when each U.S. locality could start and end Daylight Saving Time as it desired. One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone. For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore–but Chicago was. And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles! The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially those involving transportation and communications. Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today’s equivalent of over $12 million per year.”

Yes, DST is a problem, and yes it’s gonna become only more so over the years. We live in a world totally different from the one our parents lived in. We live in an extraordinarily connected world, where the slightest time inconsistence may lead to irrecoverable errors and losses. That’s why speculations arise as to whether DST really is as important and necessary of a thing, as is portrayed? Let’s see. With DST:

1. SaaS vendors have problems with updating time if they run applications on multiple servers. I.e., there’re problems with Google Calendar.

2. We face problems with synchronizing data and scheduling. The trouble lies in synchronizing and avoiding all the mismatches that might occur as a result of different countries switching to DST at different times and timezones changing “on the run.”

3. Time changes disrupt sleep patterns, cause harm to the health, and so on. According to health researches, DTS increase death rates, suicide commitments, heartaches, etc.

4. DST wastes more energy resources rather than saves any, according to various studies.

Clock shifts and DST rule changes have a direct economic cost, since they entail extra work to support remote meetings, computer applications and the like. For example, a 2007 North American rule change cost an estimated $500 million to $1 billion.

5. We miss appointments, having problems interpreting and meeting deadlines.

7. Struggle to tackle security-related issues and correlating log files.

8. International business systems that function across multiple time zones face confusion.

And so on and so forth.

Globalization made us as interdependent as ever and our world as web-connected as never (and you can only wonder how much closer it will get). If the problems over DST might have been insignificant a decade or so back, they are far from being so today. Today, DST makes businesses stumble, business intelligence fail and lead to the loss of our most precious resources—time and data…The question is, why are things like that still allowed to happen?