What would happen if your watch no longer told the time in hours, minutes and seconds? Why do we have 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute? What would happen if our clocks showed 10 hours in a day, 100 minutes in an hour and 100 seconds in a minute? Our time is linear, so let feel it linear…
Without time zones – without geographical borders…
Internet time was created by Swatch. How long is a Swatch .beat? In short, Swatch has divided up the virtual and real day into 1000 “.beats”. One Swatch beat is the equivalent of 1 minute 26.4 seconds. Internet time is displayed by ‘@’ and three digits, which range from 000 to 999. That means that 12 noon in the old time system is the equivalent of @500 Swatch .beats. One hour of conventional time equals just over 40 Beats, so half an hour equals 20-21 Beats.
Okay, so how can a surfer in New York, or a passenger on a transatlantic flight know when it is @500 Swatch .beats in Central Europe for example? How can the New York surfer make a date for a chat with his cyber friend in Rome? Easy, Internet Time is the same all over the world. And it also works well for the conference planner who schedules a meeting for business travelers from around the globe who would know they are meeting at, say, @800 in Paris, regardless of time zone and Daylight Savings Time chaos.
How is this possible? Swatch not just created a new way of measuring time, they also created a new meridian in Biel, Switzerland, home of Swatch. Biel MeanTime (BMT) is the universal reference for Internet Time. The Internet day starts at midnight BMT (@000 Swatch .beats) (Central European Wintertime). The meridian is marked for all to see on the facade of the Swatch International Headquarters on Jakob-Staempfli Street, Biel, Switzerland. So, it is the same time all over the world, be it night or day, the era of time zones has disappeared.
Let’s imagine… At @000 Beats in Biel is Wednesday, 12:00 am, September 13. For Mary from Boston Internet time began on Tuesday, September 12 at 7 pm U.S. Eastern Standart Time (@000), while Bill from Brisbane (Australia), who is fourteen hours ahead of Boston on Queensland Standart Time, began on Wednesday, September 13 at 9 am (@000). Thus, at @000 Bill and Mary were indeed united – one world, one time. So they both can watch the Olympics at @600.
Mary wakes up around @520 and goes to sleep at @190. Bill in Australia wakes up between @900 and @930, works until @330, and goes to bed between @500 and @600. It’s easy… and you’ll ever know what time is it… all around the world.
The BMT meridian was inaugurated on 23 October 1998 in the presence of Nicholas Negroponte, founder, and director of the Massachusetts Institute of technology`s Media Laboratory.