IGEL OS and EPOS Connect to manage and update headset’s on the go! Why is it important?

By Fredrik Brattstig @virtualbrat

5 June 2022
EPOS (https://www.eposaudio.com/) is a manufacturer of Professional and gaming headset’s and speaker phones for unified communication software. High-end equipment making it comfortable to sit day in and out in virtual conferences or one on one calls. EPOS is part of IGEL Ready (https://www.igel.com/ready/search-results/?searchwp=EPOS) with numerous headsets certified.

One thing that makes a big difference is the IGEL OS integrated software component EPOS Connect which allows for organizing, updating and configuring your estate of EPOS headsets (and the legacy Sennheiser heritage) .

EPOS was kind to send me a EPOS Adapt 260 (https://www.eposaudio.com/en/us/enterprise/products/adapt-260-bluetooth-headset-1000882) for testing of the EPOS Connect features.

I started by setting up a tenant for my virtualbrat domain by applying at this web-page: https://enterprise.eposaudio.com/#/signup and after just a few hours I received my login details back and could start exploring the options of EPOS Manager and EPOS Connect. What I was curious about was first the firmware update feature of the headset’s using the integrated software in IGEL OS. To get started I needed to configure my IGEL OS to use EPOS Connect and that’s super easy to do. You will need to know your assigned Tenant ID and your Backend Endpoint which both are shown in the EPOS Manager portal and looks like this:

Click on “Admin” in the top right corner, and select Settings from the drop-down menu will show you the
Tenant ID and the Backend Endpoint
and will allow you to set preferences, where I like the option to enable downgrade of firmware (if something goes wrong)

Ha, now that you have my Tenant ID you can start connecting your devices to my environment :-), but I wouldn’t do that if I was you!

When you have the details needed, it’s time to enable EPOS Connect in IGEL OS and as always, this can be enabled for thousands of endpoints in one single profile. Here is how you configure the IGEL OS endpoint – Goto Devices->Unified Communications->EPOS Audio-> EPOS Connect and select “Enable EPOS Connect” plus fill in the information about your Tenant ID and Backend Endpoint, you can also specify a proxy if that is needed.

EPOS Connect config dialogue of IGEL OS

When you apply this setting in IGEL OS, it will automatically start the EPOS Connect service and automatically register the IGEL OS Endpoint and its connected EPOS (and Sennheiser) devices.

So, now that the base config is done, lets open up EPOS Manager which is the web-portal for managing your EPOS estate. (https://enterprise.eposaudio.com/)

The EPOS manager portal dashboard

The dashboard of EPOS Manager will give you a nice overview of your connected users, EPOS devices and Deployment Status where the deployment status is what we are going to look at:

Deployment Status snap of the EPOS dashboard

Deployments will tell you about jobs that you have fired off, and their status. The topmost job is a Firmware update (which you can tell by the downward arrow) and the second job is a configuration push( two stacked cogwheels). So let me explain what I did: The Firmware update was a job I set up to make sure that the firmware of my ADAPT 260 is up to date. In a software world updates plays a important role as it allows new features to be added, that didn’t even exist in the mind of development when the product was born. Changes and new features can be introduced by adding new firmware’s. Look at ex Microsoft Teams, which isn’t really a new product anymore, but as a example. A new Unified Communications software is released to the market and there needs to be changes made to the headset to allow it to fulfill the requirements of getting the headset certified for this new platform. How would you do that without a good firmware update procedure? And in EPOS case, where a lot of R&D is put in to develop audio and speech to perfection. As new learning are made from research, a firmware update of a headset might be required to adopt the new science.
The configuration job was a test i made, to change the configuration of the ADAPT 260 – I added a timer to automatically turn off the headset when it isn’t used for two hours. Especially useful if the headset is connected through Bluetooth. BTW, the ADAPT 260 headset can connect straight using Bluetooth, or you can use the supplied USB dongle if the IGEL OS endpoint doesn’t have a Bluetooth module.

Lets have a quick look at how to set up a firmware update when you want to target headsets connected to IGEL OS. There is one special step needed, as EPOS Connect are running “headless”, e.g there is no application GUI except for a popup that show briefly when a headset is connected or disconnected. This means that the user cannot interact with EPOS Connect, so updates needs to be sent “silently”. The following pictures should explain what you need to do:

When you deploy a new firmware in EPOS Manager, make sure that you select “Deploy Type” to “Silent” and specify a start and end time for the job

EPOS Connect in IGEL OS will connect to the EPOS Manager at boot up + the EPOS Connect service on IGEL OS will at a interval of 2 hours check in with EPOS Manager to see if there are new updates enrolled. It will automatically update the firmware of the headset silently as long as the headset isn’t used.

Here we see the newly deployed Firmware Update job

As you can see in this image the job is assigned to the group “Virtualbrat first hit test users”, this is to highlight that you can create groups and categorize your users. This allows you to push a new firmware to a specific smaller audience initially, and after they have verified that the new firmware works, you can then target your complete estate of headsets.

As time goes by and your devices have checked in, updated the EPOS headset’s, and then checked back “complete” state, this is how the “Deployment Status” list should look

I will not cover more about how to use EPOS Manager, I just wanted to highlight the importance of selecting “Silent” as the deployment method.

By the way, I’m based in Sweden, but last week I was in the United States, as always traveling with my IGEL OS LG Gram laptop. I carried out this update operation when I was traveling, just to make sure that it can be done across the globe when you have traveling personnel. In a software defined environment, the location of your work force should not be a blocker for using technology. With IGEL OS and EPOS, it works!

That’s it for today. Stay well!