Posted by Richard N Williams on May 9th, 2012
When a business is time reliant every second can count. For organisations such as the stock markets, online services and banking, precision and accuracy equates to money and time delays can become costly. Stocks and shares fluctuate throughout the day, while online services and banking requires precise time to ensure security and prevent bugs. However, keeping precise time is not as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to visible time sources, such as wall clocks.
Traditionally wall clocks, whether they are digital or analogue, operate using quartz oscillators, which make them fairly precise. However, even these electronic clocks systems are prone to drift, often up to several seconds per week, so if more precise time is needed, an organisation needs to find a more accurate and reliable source, and the ideal solution is the digital network wall clock.
Atomic clock precision
The most accurate timekeeping devices are atomic clock systems. Rather than use quartz oscillators, atomic clocks use the precision of the atom. Theoretically, this enables atomic clocks to keep prefect time for thousands of years without losing as much as a second. Since the 1970s, atomic clocks have been used to keep a global time scale, used by businesses and organisations worldwide. This global time scale is known as UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).
UTC enables companies and organisations across the globe to synchronise with each other. While UTC is the same the world over, it still enables time zone differences, so no matter where an organisation is in the world it can kep its own time and still be synchronised to UTC.
Most computer networks make use of a UTC, which enable global communication without the problems caused by unsynchronised machines talking to each other. Computer networks use network time servers to receive the time from atomic clock source, often via GPS (Global Positioning System) or specialist radio signals. The network time servers then use this time source to keep all devices on a network synchronised to UTC.
This network time is not only useful for keeping computers synchronised but also, with the use of digital network wall clocks, people have access to an accurate, precise and visible time system.
Digital Network Wall Clock
Digital network wall clocks make use of the same atomic clock signal that keeps a network synchronised. The digital network wall clock plugs directly into the network, so the signal received by the network time server is sent to the wall clock as well as to all the machines on the network.
The big advantage of a digital network wall clock is that they never have to be set as the time is kept and maintained by the network time server, which ensure the wall clock is accurate to the millisecond. Furthermore, most digital network wall clocks use the power over Ethernet system to provide the clock’s power, so there is no need to wire them up to the mains or install batteries (which have a habit of going flat and leading to the clock stopping). All this means that a digital network wall clock will always show the right time and provide a visible and accurate time reference for employees in organisations.