Peripherals: EPOS Launches New UC Headsets Certified for Microsoft Teams

eWEEK PRODUCT NEWS: The newly formed EPOS company has launched a new line of wired headsets that have been certified for Microsoft Teams.

EPOS.Impact.headset

Danish audio peripherals maker EPOS has announced co-development with Germany's Sennheiser of a new line of high-end, wired headsets co-branded by EPOS|Sennheiser and called IMPACT.

Sennheiser has earned a reputation over four decades as being a high-quality but slightly more expensive maker of headphones and microphones. The co-development of this new line of audio peripherals is substantial news in the industry.

To show how specialized we’re all getting in this day and age, the new EPOS IMPACT headsets have all been certified for use with Microsoft Teams. Other headset companies, including Poly and Plantronics, also have had their products sanctioned by Microsoft for its Teams app, the international promotion of which hasn’t been seen by the Seattle-based IT giant since it launched Windows 95.

These EPOS IMPACT headsets, previously certified for Skype for Business, simply require a firmware upgrade to be certified for Teams. They’re already ergonomically designed for all-day use; with the increasing number of Zoom, Skype and Webex calls employees are doing on a daily basis because they’re working from home, comfort eventually becomes an important factor in peripherals like these.

Why use a specific headset for collab apps?

A natural question would be this: Besides comfort, why would users care what type of headset they deploy in using a collaboration app, which is 99 percent about voice only? Microsoft contends that its peripherals certification program ensures users that USB peripherals such as headsets, speakerphones, webcams and monitors offer top-end audio or video quality. Certified devices work out of the box (plug and play) with no additional configuration required and offer call control with these apps, which are quickly growing in market share due to an increasing number of work-from-home employees.

The certification update for Teams includes all the previous benefits of Skype for Business certification and adds enhanced functionality in Teams, allowing users to receive notifications and instantly jump to the notification in Teams. The existing green call activity LED light on the headset now offers notifications for missed calls, voicemails or meeting starts. By pushing the call answer button, users will invoke the application, which brings them directly to the relevant notification: missed calls, voice calls or meetings.

So these are several features that can actually save time and effort on these headphones. In fact, users will likely not ever want to move off them onto another, less-helpful headset after being “spoiled” by such a futuristic device.

A recent report, "Understanding Sound Experiences," revealed that 70% of workers are using collaboration tools to drive efficiency and connect with clients and teams, with 27% of end users choosing Microsoft Teams --emphasizing the need for integrations that make collaborating smoother.

Here’s a list of those features:

  • Dedicated Teams button and LED indicator light.
  • User notification of events and alerts from the Teams client (e.g., meeting starting, voicemail or missed call).
  • Ability to activate the Teams client or respond to notification with a press of the button (e.g., to join a meeting).
  • Certification designed for extensibility (new device/client features to be delivered via firmware update).

Core certification benefits

  • Automatic selection of default audio device and prioritization if multiple audio peripherals are present.
  • Devices automatically register with the Teams client and are ready to use.
  • Audio devices (e.g., headsets, and speakerphones) offer:
    • Basic call control across when used with a PC or a Mac devices. Basic controls include answer/hang-up, mute/unmute, and volume control.
    • Wide-band audio with no echo, distortion, or excessive glitches. Echo cancellation is also supported across devices.
  • Video devices meet requirements for noise, color, image detail, jitter, latency, frame rate, and field of view.

For administrators

  • No provisioning required.
  • All devices support firmware updates to allow new features and performance improvements.

To see a listing of devices tested and certified for Microsoft Teams, go to the Teams store. For more details on call control support with Teams, read control calls using a headset in Teams.

If users already own one of the wired IMPACT products, they simply have to do a firmware update via the client application, EPOS Connect, to upgrade their devices and get the full Teams functionality. Alternatively, with EPOS Manager–a free cloud-based IT Management tool–IT managers can implement the firmware update across an entire organization’s IMPACT headset users from a central position, thus keep them in control of the organization’s audio devices.

The new wired Certified for Microsoft Teams devices, according to EPOS, include:

IMPACT 600 Series 

The IMPACT 600 Series is a range of wired premium headsets that feature an ultra-noise-canceling microphone for accurate and clear communication. Ergonomically designed.

IMPACT 200 Series 

The IMPACT 200 Series uses EPOS voice technology, noise-canceling microphones and a lightweight ergonomic design for all-day use. A headset from the IMPACT 200 Series ensures clear communication and long-term user comfort that are crucial to the job at hand. Acoustic foam ear pads with soft leatherette covers ensure all-day comfort, while CircleFlex dual-hinge ear cup system adapts to the user’s ears.

IMPACT 100 Series 

The IMPACT 100 Series is specifically designed as a deployment-friendly solution for enterprises transitioning from traditional telephony systems to Unified Communications. Offering EPOS Voice Technology and noise-canceling microphones, the IMPACT 100 Series ensures natural and clear communication, which is combined with an ultra-lightweight design, and comfort enhancing details, such as comfortable acoustic foam ear pads.

IMPACT 40 / 70 Series

The IMPACT 40 / 70 Series also makes for a flexible introduction to the UC environment. EPOS Voice Technology and noise-canceling microphones ensure clear communication, which is complemented by instant-fit features. The series delivers mobility and flexibility and allows rapid, sustained adoption of UC solutions.

Learn more about the IMPACT Line here. Learn more about EPOS and Microsoft Teams here.

About EPOS

EPOS is an audio and video solution company developing and selling devices for business professionals and the gaming community. Based on leading and advanced technologies, the Danish-founded company delivers high-end audio and video solutions with design, technology and performance as chief parameters. 

The establishment of EPOS is based on the decision to let the business segments of the joint venture – known as Sennheiser Communications – between Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. KG and Demant A/S evolve in different set-ups. Alongside the introduction of a new own-branded portfolio, EPOS continues to sell the current Sennheiser Communications portfolio co-branded as EPOS I Sennheiser.

EPOS is part of the Demant Group, a global audio and hearing technology group. It builds on more than 115 years of experience of working with innovation and sound. With headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, EPOS operates in a global market with offices and partners in more than 30 countries. 

More information can be found here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...