Sunday, 22 August 2021 14:42

Epos Expand Vision 3T turns any screen into a Teams conference room


Squint at your screen no more with the Epos Expand Vision 3T. This Android-based Microsoft Teams conferencing system turns any HDMI-based display into a conference room, whether at home or in the office. It provides the camera, speaker, and smarts; you provide the screen and Wi-Fi or ethernet.

Epos has 115 years of audio engineering excellence but entered the enterprise audio market only 12 months ago. It’s rapidly made a strong name for itself with its premium headsets and Bluetooth audio conferencing equipment. This trend continues with the Expand Vision 3T video collaboration bar bringing not only sound but two-way video, to any HDMI-based screen near you.

As a video collaboration bar, the Expand Vision 3T looks as you might expect - it’s fundamentally a camera that you can clamp onto the top of your television or monitor or place under it. The bar has an HDMI output, works with either ethernet or Wi-Fi and provides audio via USB-C or Bluetooth. The box includes a stylish and crisp portable Bluetooth speaker/microphone, and a lengthy USB-C cable to connect them. For best performance, you’d use ethernet for the network connection and USB-C for the speaker/microphone connection, but you’re not constrained if connectivity is an issue, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth available.

Fundamentally, it is an Android-based device to bring Microsoft Teams to any display you want, no matter how “dumb” that device may be. In fact, it’s a tremendous alternative to otherwise costly video-conferencing products bundling licensed software with a screen. Unlike those options the Expand Vision 3T allows you to do whatever else you want with the display when not conferencing - simply change your HDMI input as needed, and the Expand 3T lets you do with a single one-off fee. There is no ongoing licensing required.

You can easily connect the Expand Vision 3T to any TV in your office and make a boardroom or conference room setup with ease. In this scenario you might log into Microsoft Teams as a generic boardroom user, being sure to invite that user to your meetings.

Of course, in this world of work from home, you can also transform your own living room into your own conference room. It’s not good for your eyes or your neck to focus on your laptop screen all day. With the Expand Vision 3T, you can mix it up, plugging the video collaboration bar into a spare input on your TV. Sign in with your own Microsoft Teams account, throw in a nice virtual background of your choosing, and you now have a super-professional setup that will have everyone believing you’re in a real office.

What’s more, the unit has a sharp wide-angled 4K camera and will intelligently frame individual speakers, tracking voices through built-in AI. It doesn’t only look good, but it makes you look good, helps you and your fellow collaborators focus, all while recreating the in-person experience despite being apart.

I’ve been using it myself and it has made my onslaught of meetings much more comfortable. It also helps mask my typing away on the laptop and thankfully, allows me to position the camera in a far more flattering position than my MacBook Pro’s built-in camera pointing right up at my chin.

There is a lot to like. Setup was easy. Plug it into a TV, plug it into power, connect ethernet and the speaker, done. Power it on and sign in to Microsoft Teams. Using my Logitech Harmony remote I could easily assign a new activity, conveniently switching the input, letting me move from Expand Vision 3T to Apple TV to other devices, and other audio outputs, at will. After that, answering Teams calls, joining meetings, muting myself, all these things were effortless and intuitive. The Bluetooth speaker comes with a nice carry case also, so you can pack it up and take it with you to run audio conferences anywhere.

Not everything is perfect; while the USB-C cable to connect the device and the speaker is enormous, the power cable for the unit itself is not so lengthy. Depending on where your powerpoint is, and how large your TV is, you may need an extension cable if you’re going to position the video bar on top of your TV. I ended up putting mine underneath.

Additionally, I would have liked to sign in to multiple Teams accounts at once or switch between accounts. This is no big deal for an individual at home, though if you have a Teams account from more than one organisation, you can only use one of them unless you sign out and re-enter credentials for the other. Similarly, for a business, you can’t so easily switch between users, hence my suggestion for a generic boardroom account.

Of course, you can sign and sign in again, and use the remote control for typing on the on-screen keyboard. Given the device is on the network, it would have been helpful if you could connect to it via HTTP or HTTPS and configure things there. However, no such web portal exists.

However, these are the only gripes I had, and even then, they're not necessarily significant. Ultimately, the Expand Vision 3T provides a terrific video-conferencing facility with a single payment and a fast, effortless setup. Provided you have a TV, a Microsoft Teams account, and Internet access, you can be up and running in 10 minutes.

For a business, it's a great way to make a conference room, and for remote workers, it’s a terrific way to use your bigger screen and get a break from the laptop.

The Epos Expand Vision 3T is available through Epos dealers and resellers.

See it in action here:

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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