The so-called "web time" is being promoted by a European retail group, and officials hope it will reinforce the pre-eminence of Greenwich in south London as a reference point and prove more successful than a Swiss system that divides the day into 1,000 units. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) has been used as a global measure since 1884.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was "delighted that U.K.
industry has taken the lead in building a key component of the emerging
global electronic marketplace."
Blair told the British Broadcasting Corpration, "The GET website will turn GMT into a user-friendly e-commerce tool. Because of the Greenwich connection, it will be clearly branded as a U.K. service to global business, underlining the leading role U.K. companies are playing in the online marketplace."
GET is being promoted by the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), a European on-line retail body whose members include IBM and Microsoft Corp, media reports said.
The Times newspaper said "an Internet time standard based on GMT was the best solution for e-commerce, rather than a standard based on disparate time zones in the U.S. -- although the prospect of such an international time standard has never been raised by the U.S. government's working group on e-commerce, headed by Vice President Al Gore."
promoters will provide companies with software to ensure their computer
clocks conform to GET and to enable them to time-stamp their e-commerce
transactions, media reports said.
IMRG believes GET will be more successful than an existing global internet time from Swiss watch-maker Swatch, which uses a meridian in Biel and divides the day into 1,000 "beats" of 1 minute 26.4 seconds.
IMRG project development manager Gareth Donovan told The Times newspaper, "Everybody throughout the world knows and understands what GMT is. Simply adding GET allows people to extrapolate that intrinsic knowledge and trust into the e-business and e-commerce environment."
E-mail messages and e-commerce transactions currently carry a "time
stamp" based on Coordinated Universal Time -- the modern equivalent
GMT. But most computer clocks have software which converts e-mail and
message dates into local time. Supporters of GET argue that although
CUT is suitable for personal e-mails, it is not workable in worldwide
By 2004, European e-commerce is forecast to be worth $1.6 trillion --
up from $36 billion this year -- and will represent 6.3 per cent of
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