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IP clocks: what are they and what are their benefits?

It’s morning and you’re in the gym. You check the time by the weight machines: 6:48. By the treadmills: 7:02. In the locker room? Someone forgot Daylight Savings: 7:58. You need to get to work by 8 am. An accurate time is very important.

This is just one scenario. You could tell the same story for a school with clocks in every classroom, for a warehouse with clocks to keep track of the shifts, and for many more scenarios.

What if there was a way to have the clocks all be automatically synchronized? To have them automatically account for Daylight Saving Time? To completely get rid of the headache of having to set them?

IP Clocks are your answer.

Valcom VIP-A16A IP Clock

What is an IP clock?

An IP clock is a network-connected clock that’s managed through an IP phone or IP paging system. You can think of it as the clock equivalent of a VoIP phone.

What are the advantages of IP clocks?

There are three primary advantages that IP clocks have over traditional clocks:

  1. Always accurate and automatically updated time across every clock
  2. Centralized management of every clock through the IP phone or paging system
  3. Powering the clocks via PoE

Always accurate time

The biggest advantage of an IP clock is that your clocks will always be accurate. Think of the difference between a smartphone and a (not smart) watch. If you’re driving across a time zone change, your phone will automatically switch to the new time zone. If it’s Daylight Savings, your IP clock will automatically switch to the correct hour.

Both can accomplish this because of NTP. What is NTP?

Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a long-established computer protocol that allows computers to receive the time from a definitive source like an atomic clock. In other words, an IP clock can always access an accurate time because it’s network-connected, automatically keeping them up-to-date.

On your end, it means you don’t ever have to set the clocks again.

Valcom VIP-D440A IP Clock

Centralized management

IP clocks are managed through the network via a management portal, likely the same portal that you use for your IP paging system. While you probably won’t need to manage the clocks very often after setting them up, you won’t have to go to each individual clock when you need to.

Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

If the clock supports it (and almost all of them will), you can power the clock through the same Ethernet cable that you use to connect it to your network. This reduces the number of power supplies or batteries you need to worry about. Note that you’ll need a PoE switch or PoE injector. For more, check out our blog: What is “PoE”?

Algo 8190 IP Clock & Paging Speaker

What kinds of IP clocks are there?

IP clocks come in a variety of form factors. There are digital IP clocks like Valcom VIP-D440A and analog IP clocks like Valcom VIP-A16A.

There are also IP clocks that are combined with paging speakers, which are ideal for classrooms. For example, Algo 8190 is an excellent wall-mounted paging speaker with a clear digital clock on top. Having a paging speaker integrated with your clock gives you a ready-made solution for emergency notifications, such as you might need in an extreme situation in a school.

Algo 8190S is the same thing with an integrated strobe light, which is extremely useful in sound-sensitive situations. For example, in a school, you might want one in the shop or other loud classroom or in a classroom for hearing-challenged students. If you want to know more about Algo 8190, we wrote a whole blog about it: Algo 8190: Network-Connected Speaker/Clock Combo for Classrooms.