Written By Richard Williams for Galleon Systems
Accuracy in timekeeping is forever becoming more important in the modern global economy. Industries and business around the globe are now often communicating with each despite the time zone differences.
There was a time when a few minutes here or there rarely mattered but now, knowing exactly what time it is has become more and more important as conference calls and over-the-internet webinars are often scheduled as part of regular business.
Fortunately, to prevent the headache of working out all the different time-zones you may have to deal with, there is a global timescale that is now adopted by the global community. UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is an atomic clock controlled time used globally and kept precise and accurate by physics laboratories around the world.
UTC enables accurate communication and forms and is used by many high end technologies to ensure accuracy such as the network time server (NTP server – Network Time Protocol). Often these devices receive the UTC time directly from atomic clocks thanks to radio broadcasts from people like NIST (USA’s National Institute for Standards and Time) and NPL (UK’s National Physical Laboratory)
Atomic Wall Clocks
And when it comes to people telling the time, these same radio signals can also be utilised by an atomic wall clock. Atomic wall clocks, despite what the name suggests, are not atomic clocks. In essence they are comprised of a standard clock device and a radio antenna and receive. The atomic clocks signals broadcast by the physics laboratories can be received and the clock regularly adjusts itself to ensure that the clock is accurate to UTC to the second.