Did you ever realize how many choices you actually make while deciding what to have for dinner?
It shouldn't be that hard of a question, but the number of options available mean life is never that simple. If you want spaghetti, for instance, you have to decide what sauce, seasoning, ingredients, sides, and beverages you want. Then, you decide whether you want to cook it, get take-out, or dine out.
The stakes aren't high for a decision like this. Maybe a little indigestion, but it won't cause long-term headaches or lost opportunity. Deciding which synchronized clock system to buy for your facility, however, could have longer-lasting ramifications.
Wired or wireless, analog or digital. Or, maybe you need a fully integrated visual communications system that just happens to tell the time. No matter what your decision, there are ample things to consider when shopping for a synchronized system.
Tapping Into the Wi-Fi
Receiving the time signal wirelessly from your time server, a Wi-Fi clock can be operational within minutes after it's out of the package. It can come preconfigured for your network and be hung just about anywhere, thanks to the option of a battery pack that can deliver synchronized time for up to five years.
Battery-powered Wi-Fi clocks are ideal for spaces where there is no electrical outlet nearby. If you have a Wi-Fi access point available, you have synchronized time with minimal effort. Additionally, not having to rely on a wired infrastructure provides a maintenance benefit in the form of time savings, too.
Power Over Ethernet Provides a Wired Option
Power over Ethernet (PoE) clocks get both their time signal and power via an Ethernet cable. They are best suited for rooms already outfitted with that kind of wiring. Plugging in a Cat 5 cable is a sure-fire way to obtain simple, synchronized time.
The Classic Reel of Analog
Once you've determined your power source and how your clocks will sync to the network, you have two basic display types to choose from: analog or digital.
Analog clocks provide the classic academic look and can be beneficial to young students who are just learning basic time concepts including the hour and minute hands.
Analog clocks come in a greater variety of styles than digital clocks, with several bezels to pick from and the opportunity to customize the clock face. If you're trying to instill a sense of workplace pride or school spirit, the option to customize with a company logo or school mascot may sway you to go analog.
It might also help you make your decision to know that analog clocks use less energy, provide long-term cost savings and bring you closer to any energy reduction goals you might have.
Easy Reading Digital
Digital clocks are easier to read than analog, making them the ideal choice for a variety of settings. Those include large rooms where an analog clock might be difficult to see or facilities such as nursing homes where many occupants have poor vision. Depending on the layout of the room or hallway, digital clocks can be seen up to 250 feet away.
Digital is also beneficial for places like production facilities where employees work in large rooms and have to pay attention to shift changes. Hospitals commonly use digital clocks for a similar reason – time is of the essence and doctors and nurses have to be able to quickly glance at the clock on the wall to do their jobs.
Digital clocks may also aid in various tasks thanks to a countdown feature that can help people more easily manage their time.
Many facilities will have a mixture of these types of spaces, so a mixture of digital and analog is often the best option.
Next Generation of Network Clocks
You can even go beyond basic analog or digital displays, and consider a new-age network clock with comprehensive communications and emergency alert system that uses LED displays to disseminate custom messages for both regular and emergency use.
Connecting directly to the internet, these systems give you the peace of mind that messages will be efficiently spread across a facility whether you're sending out alerts about severe weather or issuing daily advisories to make your facility run more smoothly.
And of course, these systems tell the time, in an analog or digital format, as well.
So, what's the right network clock system? Some of it depends on your building, and some of it on your preferences — so it really is a lot like choosing dinner.