DBA warns of lurking risk from millennium bug

Design groups need to educate their clients on the dangers of the millennium bug in order to eliminate potential hiccups in the payment process, according to the Design Business Association.

In the week the Department of Trade and Industry launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of the millennium bug, DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill warned design groups of the indirect effects it could have on them.

The bug is caused by the timing mechanisms inside electronic devices, which will read the year 2000 as 00 and could malfunction after 1999. It will effect PCs but not Apple computers.

“The millennium bug is certainly a serious issue, but the overwhelming majority of design consultancies use Macs. Designers’ main problem will be their clients. If a client’s accounts system is dependent on PCs, for example, then that could lead to problems,” says Rowland-Hill.

He says designers need to make sure clients are aware of the problems. “It is best to act now because the cost of hiring people qualified to make the necessary technical changes to combat the bug is increasing rapidly as the millennium deadline approaches and demand increases,” he adds.

Launching the Millennium Bug Campaign last week, Prime Minister Tony Blair warned companies there are just 100 weeks in which to take action.

The campaign will include leaflets and guidebooks, an Internet site, direct support and a hotline number – 0845 601 2000.

It will train more bug specialists, as well as campaigning to get big businesses to help smaller companies.

The campaign logo was created by marketing group Quentin Bell’s design unit.

“We wanted it to look like a warning symbol and so we used yellow, black and a triangle, and we wanted it to be easy to remember,” says Quentin Bell senior designer Johnie Clayton.

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