Yesterday Microsoft unveiled a new video service that will eventually merge into the eight month old Office 365 Video offering for business customers.
Microsoft Stream, which is entering a free preview this week, will be focused on providing a company portal where videos can be uploaded and discovered by other employees through hashtags and other searches.
In the announcement of Microsoft Stream, according to James Phillips the Microsoft Corporate VP for the Business Intelligence Products Group, is all about making video easily accessible to employees across the organization in a way that democratizes that access.
He goes on to say:
"Earlier this year we announced our new approach to business apps and our ambition to remove barriers, encourage innovation and ultimately empower everyone in an organization with better ways to get work done. Microsoft Stream builds on this vision, enabling business users to harness the power of video to achieve more at work."
Microsoft Stream's initial preview will have the following features:
- Sign up in seconds: Get started with Microsoft Stream in as few as five seconds with easy signup and no credit card requirements.
- Easily upload and organize your video: With easy drag and drop capabilities, upload your videos and organize them by either starting a channel or contributing to a channel based on team, group, topic etc.
- Discover relevant content: Enhanced content discovery through “trending” videos powered by machine learning, as well as search by hashtag, most liked videos and other key search terms.
- Watch anywhere, on any device, anytime: View videos in Microsoft Stream on all your devices from anywhere, anytime.
- Secure video management: Manage who views your video content by determining how widely to share within your organization, and to what channels. Secure application access is enabled by Azure Active Directory, a recognized leader in identity management systems, to protect sensitive corporate content.
- Follow what matters: Follow channels to see content you want in your Microsoft Stream homepage.
- Engage with content: Socialize videos by sharing via email, “Like” your favorites and embed videos to webpages within your organization.
Phillips states that anyone with a business email address can sign up and begin participating in the preview immediately.
Some of you may be wondering about the eight months worth of work that has gone info Office 365 Video since it was announced last November and if that work has been wasted. Phillips says that is not the case and that the company understands many have come onboard very quickly with Office 365 Video.
However, that feedback and the subsequent improvements were used as a baseline for Microsoft Stream. The ultimate goal is to merge the two services into one option under the Microsoft Stream name and that will make this service the defacto video experience in Office 365.
Since the preview is just getting underway it is not feature complete but Microsoft does have some ideas on where Microsoft Stream is headed with other capabilities it will gain in the future:
- Deliver corporate broadcast seamlessly: Increasingly the way organizations are communicating and connecting is through live video. We believe that Microsoft Stream portal should be the destination for both live and video on demand.
- Intelligent video search: We believe true power of video will be realized once we are able to search within the video. Leveraging capabilities such as audio transcription and face detection, we can enable deep search, empowering employees to find relevant content faster.
- Make video part of your business apps and workflows: With the ability to integrate Microsoft Stream with other business apps like PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, SharePoint and other line of business applications, we see great opportunity to leverage the richness of video across apps.
- IT management capabilities: We recognize the critical role IT plays in managing content and user access to internal content. We plan to enable IT to manage access and settings like granting and assigning channel and video access, remove and monitor content and manage what is viewable to specific groups in the organization.
- Microsoft Stream App Ecosystem: We believe our partners will take Microsoft Stream experiences to the next level. Using Microsoft Stream APIs, partners will be able to create custom applications and make them available in AppSource, Microsoft’s marketplace for business applications we announced earlier this month.
You can get started with Microsoft Stream today by visiting https://stream.microsoft.com/ and getting signed up for the preview. It is free to use right now but eventually this will obviously be incorporated into paid Office 365 subscription options.
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