Older technologies may not get people as excited as the new iPhone, but in many cases, they prove their enduring usefulness time and time again.
Election officials still depend on paper ballots because it's hard to trust the inner workings of a computer system for a task as important as counting votes. People who conduct a lot of business over the phone prefer a landline because it provides more audio clarity and they know it won't drop their calls. Audiophiles still prefer vinyl records to their digital counterparts because there's just something about that warm, analog sound.
While the bugs get worked out in the new devices that dominate our lives, trusty standbys remain at your service. You might think that one casualty of the march of technology would be the humble wall clock, which now competes with the smartphone in everyone's pocket.
Those phones do a lot, including display the time, but they don't accomplish that task as well as a wall clock connected to a synchronized time system. Despite almost everyone having a clock in their pocket, there are many everyday scenarios that necessitate a wall clock, whether for safety, security or convenience.
People have been ditching wristwatches ever since cellphones rose to prominence at the dawn of the 21st century, a fact that makes traditional clocks all the more important. Although people now rely on their phones to tell the time, there are many places in daily life where phones aren't allowed. Whether it's the manufacturing floor or a classroom, there are a few reasons why phone use might be prohibited.
As phones have proved a persistent force of distraction, the temptation of the glowing screen is often something to be avoided. That's certainly true if you're operating heavy equipment in a factory, where phone use is often rightfully banned. Similarly, educators have adopted policies limiting phone use in the classroom due to the technology's magnetic nature.
In those cases, all that is left when it comes to telling the time is the clock on the wall, ticking away, humble but precise.
Phones might also be prohibited in situations where the concern isn't necessarily distraction, but misconduct.
During an exam for instance, you wouldn't allow your students to have their phones out during a test. Not only can they look up the answers, but they can snap a picture of the questions to give the rest of the school a sneak-preview.
But there are few scenarios where keeping track of the time is more important than when taking a test. So it's a good thing that students, deprived of their phones, can still count on the clock on the wall.
Maintaining Information Security
In certain business settings, phones can be a security risk. In a competitive marketplace, where information is everything, some of that information needs to be kept top-secret.
To keep trade secrets confidential, managers will prohibit phones in sensitive situations, out of concern over photos and recordings. If you're important enough to find yourself in such an environment, you're probably important enough that you need to keep track of the time, so you'll appreciate the wall clock that has you covered.
When Your Hands are Full
Sometimes, refraining from phone use isn't just about following the rules. Sometimes, it's not convenient or you're physically unable to fish your phone from your pocket.
Maybe you're rearranging your classroom and your phone is across the room. Maybe you're working in the cafeteria kitchen and your hands are slathered with cooking oil. Maybe you’re wearing gloves.
You might find yourself indisposed in these ways, or you might just appreciate that you can glance up for one second and know the time. It doesn't get much more convenient than that.
When you're trying to instill a sense of discipline in the classroom or workplace, it's valuable to have an ultimate voice of authority so there aren't conflicting messages. The same is true for timekeeping.
The wall clock, when connected to a synchronized time system, serves as the official time of your facility, no matter what someone's phone says. While a buggy phone may not be displaying the correct time for a number of reasons, it's also possible for students bent on sowing chaos in the classroom to falsify the time displayed on their screens.
In that instance, you'll want to be able to point at the clock and shake your head as you explain how synchronized timekeeping works, and how you can't be fooled. A wall clock connected to such a system won't be vulnerable to challenges from students claiming class should have gotten out 5 minutes ago.
So, don't rid your building of its wall clocks. It turns out they're still as valuable as ever.