Redefining Hybrid Workspaces: A Deep Dive into Audio Innovation with EPOS’s Brit Frandsen

Redefining Hybrid Workspaces: A Deep Dive into Audio Innovation with EPOS's Brit Frandsen

On this episode of Futurum Live! From ISE 2024, The Futurum Group’s Craig Durr talks with Brit Frandsen, Director Portfolio Management at EPOS, about the transformative impact of high-quality audio solutions in modern hybrid work environments. They delve into EPOS’s latest BrainAdapt technology and introduce the recently announced IMPACT 700 and 800 series headsets designed to enhance cognitive function and workplace productivity.

Their discussion covers:

  • The critical role of advanced audio solutions in the evolving open and hybrid office spaces.
  • How poor audio quality affects productivity and the cognitive load of professionals.
  • EPOS’s BrainAdapt technology and its benefits validated by the Centre for Applied Audiology Research.
  • The launch of EPOS’s IMPACT 700 and 800 series headsets and their contribution to workplace efficiency and compatibility with various platforms.

You can view the video of their conversation here, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you’re there.

Listen to the audio below:

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Craig Durr: Hey everyone, this is Craig Durr, Practice Lead for the Workplace Collaboration Practice at The Futurum Group. And we’re here live at ISE 2024 and I’m excited to introduce to you a friend of mine. This is Brit Frandsen, who’s the Director of Portfolio Management from EPOS. Brit, how are you doing?

Brit Frandsen: Good, thank you.

Craig Durr: Good to see you. Now, we’re going to jump into some new announcements. But before we do that, I want to talk about the setup taking place here. Now you and I talk a lot to customers and end users, and one of the things that’s coming up a lot is how the office is changing. And I’m talking about the physical office transforming. With the needs of open offices, activity-based spaces, what have you, it’s creating some real challenges in market, especially around what people need to see and hear. Tell me what you’re hearing from customers in some of these challenges?

Brit Frandsen: Yeah, it’s true Craig. I mean, poor audio is really a challenge for most people working in new open offices, because all of this noise, it’s difficult for us to concentrate and focus and be really efficient. So this listening fatigue really creates a need for superior audio. So one of the things that we do is that we enhance the sound experience and we do that with a new group of technologies that we call Brain Adapt.

Craig Durr: So I’m so excited that you brought up this Brain Adapt, because this is a collection of technologies you guys have actually been working for a while. Tell me more about Brain Adapt.

Brit Frandsen: Brain Adapt is that we hear with our ears, but we are listening with our brains. So it really comes down to understanding how the brain makes sense of sound. So the great audio experience, it doesn’t just happen with the technology. It’s about understanding how the brain works with these inputs. So at EPOS we work every day to unleash human potential. So we do that by building technology for the people and not just technology for the sake of technology. So coming back to how the brain actually makes sense of sound, it’s about orient, focus, and recognize. And that means that if there is a lot of sound around and the brain doesn’t recognize what it is, it’ll label it noise. And noise is what stresses the brain, and this is what creates the listening fatigue because you constantly have to work overtime with your brain.

Craig Durr: I love this. How do you and EPOS know so much about the human brain?

Brit Frandsen: Well, I don’t know if you know this, but we are actually part of the big hearing group called Demant and they do a lot of scientific research about brain, about hearing and all of that. So we actually collaborate with them and that means that a lot of our science that we put into our product, it comes with this collaboration. But it also means that for instance, a lot of the validation of our technologies, like how they actually work, it comes from these studies with the scientific research. So what we do is that we publish a lot of white papers, particularly on the Brain Adapt, just to prove exactly what is it the customers get out of this. So for instance, the white paper that we did last year, which was this dual task study that we did, and here the users, they were using an Impact 1000, we’ll go back to the product, right Craig?

Craig Durr: Right.

Brit Frandsen: So the Impact 1000 with a really advanced ANC exit noise cancellation. And what we’ve found is that the efficiency went up by 40%.

Craig Durr: Wow. So I love all this new information, especially from this dual test study that you’re doing. But let’s talk about why you’re here right now. We want to talk about some new products. So you are announcing a few new headsets and expanding the Impact portfolio, right?

Brit Frandsen: Yeah. Yeah.

Craig Durr: Tell me about those.

Brit Frandsen: Yeah, we are so excited. I mean we are really raising the standard for what you can expect from a headset nowadays. So with our next generation of Impact products, last year we introduced the Impact 1000 and now we are introducing two new wired headsets, which is building on the exact same technology, Brain Adapt technology, and it’s building on the industry-leading voice pickup that we know from this one. It is powered by AI. So we are really excited about these technologies that goes into that. So it’s two new wired headsets and one of them is the wired edition of the Impact 1000. So this is for the office collaborator, the person that sits mostly at the desk and working with that. And the other one is for the contact center space. So we have two really exciting products here that are catering to two different use cases.

Craig Durr: Fantastic. Now the first one you mentioned is the Impact 800.

Brit Frandsen: Yes.

Craig Durr: And then the second one, which is for the call center is for the Impact 700, right?

Brit Frandsen: Yeah.

Craig Durr: That’s fantastic. I’m so excited that you’re bringing these new products to market here at this show. Both these headsets. Tell me a little bit more about both of them.

Brit Frandsen: Yeah, I mean, both the 700 and 800, they are built on the same technology with the industry-leading voice pickup, powered by EPOS AI. So that is the key for everyone to know that their voice is being heard and it’s very natural. It’s like us standing here talking, even though you might be on the other side of the world, we’re just talking into the headsets.

Craig Durr: Right.

Brit Frandsen: So for the Impact 700, another great feature here, this is for the contact center mind you. So agents talking all day long with the headsets on all day long. So being very comfortable with a lightweight headset is one of the key things. So really soft ear pads and really lightweight that makes their day.

Craig Durr: And it also has the inline controls as well too. Right?

Brit Frandsen: Yes, exactly. Because it’s very intuitive to use. We have an inline control that makes it super easy to turn up the volume, turn it down, mute if you need to do that, hang up calls or answer calls and so on. So that is really easy to use. You can also utilize Intuitive with the boom arm. So standing, if I have a headset on right now, but with a mute arm or the boom arm, you can mute and unmute your headset if you want. So…

Craig Durr: And that’s perfect.

Brit Frandsen: It’s really durable build quality. So we of course also back this particular headset with a three-year warranty, which is really important for these customers.

Craig Durr: Now the Impact 800, when I saw that, it looks a lot like the Impact 1000, right?

Brit Frandsen: It is. And it is actually the same headset. It’s in a wired edition. So you get a more lightweight headset rather than the 1000. And when the 1000 is for those that needs to be moving around while talking, being more flexible, having a connectivity up to triple connectivity. Whereas the 800 is more for the person that are in front of their PC when talking, maybe need to take notes at the same time or running a presentation or whatever. So it’s the exact same headset, but it’s more lightweight because you don’t have the battery and so on inside.

But the most important feature apart from the voice pick up, is actually the adaptive hybrid ANC or Active Noise Cancellation. And what makes this special is that it adapts to the surroundings. So right now we are here at a trade show, it’s quite noisy here, so the ANC would by itself crank it up to the highest level. But if you are in a more quiet setting still with a bit of background noise not to be avoided by that, then it would naturally adjust down so you don’t get too much or more than you need. So that is really important.

Craig Durr: Adaptive ANC. I love that.

Brit Frandsen: Yeah. And both of them comes with busy lights, so it’s also easy to signal to your colleagues and so on that I don’t want to be disturbed. I’m on a call, I’m focusing or, yeah.

Craig Durr: Now when are these products going to be available to the market?

Brit Frandsen: Yeah, so the Impact 800 is available now, so you can stop by a booth, have a try. And the 700 is also at display and then being demoed, but it will be available in April.

Craig Durr: That’s great. Now you know what I love about this? Now with this full portfolio, you really have this cross section that covers every use case from this contact center, to the office and coworking, to every type of user, whether they’re stationary or they’re flexible and moving around now with these wireless options as well too, right?

Brit Frandsen: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Craig Durr: I mean you’ve got a lot going on here and there’s even more, right? Out of the gate, Microsoft, OpenOffice.

Brit Frandsen: Yeah, exactly. I mean, we ensure that it’s a plug and play solution whenever we do our headsets. So it’s really important for us that they work seamlessly with any UC or CC platforms out there. So they’re of course certified for Microsoft Teams, they’re certified for Google Meet and so on. And another thing is also with this raising the bar for audio, of course they’re also meeting the Microsoft Teams OpenOffice premium requirement, and it’s really just another standard saying just like that, how well we are at distinguishing voice from noise and canceling out the noise from the voice transmission. So…

Craig Durr: Which goes back to the beginning part of our conversation. These open offices are such a challenge, and the research that you’re doing aligns to this that brings out these great products. Brit, I really appreciate your time here. It was really great to share with you. I can’t wait till we can go down the floor and take a look at that.

Brit Frandsen: Yeah.

Craig Durr: Everyone, this is Craig Durr from The Futurum Group. We’re here live at ISE 2024. Thank you so much for coming. Please make sure you check out the EPOS booth down below. Take care.

Author Information

As Practice Lead - Workplace Collaboration, Craig focuses on developing research, publications and insights that clarify how the workforce, the workplace, and the workflows enable group collaboration and communication. He provides research and analysis related to market sizing and forecasts, product and service evaluations, market trends, and end-user and buyer expectations. In addition to following the technology, Craig also studies the human elements of work - organizing his findings into the workforce, the workplace, and the workflows – and charting how these variables influence technologies and business strategies.

Prior to joining Wainhouse, now a part of The Futurum Group, Craig brings twenty years of experience in leadership roles related to P&L management, product development, strategic planning, and business development of security, SaaS, and unified communication offerings. Craig's experience includes positions at Poly, Dell, Microsoft, and IBM.

Craig holds a Master of Business Administration from the Texas McCombs School of Business as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tulane University.


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