With the release of Stream, organisations need to consider their use of Microsoft’s incumbent video platform, Office 365 Video. Take a look at my tour of Stream, and read my observations below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.
I’m talking about the use of video, for engagement and comms, at the IntraTeam Event Copenhagen in March – details at the bottom.
Microsoft introduced Office 365 Video in late 2014; it’s a much better solution than merely uploading video files to SharePoint libraries, because SharePoint isn’t designed to stream video. Office 365 Video allows employees to upload a video and have it converted to the right format automatically. The video can be streamed without needing video player software. Different video ‘channels’ can be used to host different content, and people can search for videos by using keywords found in the titles, or descriptions of the video, and so on. All very much like an ‘internal YouTube’.
This wasn’t new technology, as many third party video services were already available that could do these things – and more – but, importantly, Office 365 Video was a ‘native app’ and included with the Office 365 Enterprise plans.
Unfortunately, Microsoft were a little slow in rolling out some ‘must have’ features such as the ability to embed O365 videos in SharePoint pages, or view video from mobile devices. But, those features are now included and it’s a useful app.
Introducing Microsoft Stream
So, with Office 365 video seemingly reaching a point where it was arguably a mature product, Microsoft then surprised everyone by announcing their new video baby – Microsoft Stream.
Stream looks a lot like O365 video and Microsoft says that it’s based on the learnings from O365 video, but it’s a completely separate product – and currently available to try as a preview version.
I notice there are a few things missing though:
No external sharing. Stream doesn’t yet have the capability to share your internal videos with external partners. So only people in your organisation will be able to see the content. External sharing is apparently on the road map.
No speech transcription, yet. Now this is also something that the Stream product team are working on. Using speech recognition, Stream will allow you to search for key words that are mentioned in the audio of the video, even if those words aren’t in the video meta data – like the title or description etc.
No editing tools. Trimming, cutting bits out, and adding chapter points is something you should do before upload.
No live streaming. Wouldn’t it be great if you could live stream your town hall meeting to colleagues in other countries? Well you can’t. At least not yet.
No advanced analytics. You can get some basic stats, like how many times a video has been viewed, but you can’t get more detailed information like the percentage of users who watched all the way to the end, and which specific users watched a video.
No approval workflows. Ideally, it would be possible to subject videos to the same publishing processes as policies and SharePoint pages – where a person or group of people get to review a draft version of a video before hitting the publish button. Unfortunately, that’s not available yet and there is no word on when such a feature might be included.
Into the future…
Microsoft is keen to re-assure existing Office 365 customers that Office 365 Video and Stream will eventually merge and become the same thing – probably keeping the features that currently exist in each product. But, should organisations use one, or both platforms right now?
In this blog update from August, Microsoft provided some details on the thinking behind launching a new video platform, and what it means for the future of Office 365 Video. One thing that was mentioned is that Office 365 Video will still see new features arriving in the next few months e.g. being able to tag people in videos. And, importantly, they are committed to automating the migration of existing videos and meta data into the new Stream service.
The main motivation for launching a new product is a desire to offer video services to customers who are not using Office 365. So expect to see Stream as a standalone service as well as integrated in Office 365.
The point of video
Has video changed the enterprise or had any affect upon the intranet and digital comms?
I’ll tackle the technical difficulties, and just what makes a good video.
Check the three-day programme; it’s well worth a flight.