Office 365

The future of video in Office 365

Working with videos has never been strongest feature set in SharePoint. A few years ago, Microsoft launched the Office 365 Video portal. The Video Portal belonged to the, at the time, launched NextGen Portal concept from Microsoft: Offering portals with standard components, which companies can use immediately without a long development processes with the associated high costs. A very nice concept in my eyes. The Office 365 Video portal is because of this vision one of my favorite tools in Office 365. It enables organizations to save videos and share these in SharePoint Online by using standard Web Parts.The Office 365 Video portal is ideal for education scenarios: Learning to work with new technologies and solutions through video. I regularly applied this scenario by placing short instructional videos around SharePoint Online solutions such as a project portal. As you might expect, there is a nice iPhone app available that allows viewing videos on-the-go, record and store videos in the Video Portal. Last but not least, the portal is responsive.

Microsoft Stream

You probably wonder by now “why you’re actually writing this blog Jasper?”. Last year Microsoft launched, out of nowhere, a new video service called Microsoft Stream. A new video service fully integrated in Azure without the presence of SharePoint. What’s wrong with the Office 365 Video portal? Not much, but as stated in the introduction, working with videos is not the strongest side of SharePoint. The driving force behind the Office 365 Video portal is Azure Media Services. Azure enables the encoding and streaming of videos, and is very good at that. You may have noticed that storing and encoding videos in the Office 365 Video Portal takes a long time. In addition, it also took a very long time for standard functionality, such as selecting a thumbnail and tagging people, was delivered to the portal. The blocking issue called SharePoint Online is now gone by using Stream. Azure Media Services is in fact fast, very fast. Storing and encoding videos is done in seconds instead of minutes. This is not the only advantage, keep on reading to learn more.

Working with Stream

The figure below shows an example of the Stream homepage:

The trending videos appear at the top. Next up, the popular video channels are displayed. The final part of the homepage shows your favorite channels with the accompanying videos:

After adding a video screen will appear:

You can see a selection of default options: Name, subtitles and thumbnail. Stream really shines in the application of hashtags in the description field. The hashtag is used in searching videos:

Awesome! You are also able to add a video to multiple channels. This isn’t possible in the Office 365 Video Portal. After uploading the video, you gain more useful options:

 

Comments don’t require Yammer anymore and you can add videos to a personal watch list. I really love these two new features.

Stream and the Office 365 Video Portal

What’s the feature contrast between Stream and the Office 365 Video Portal? I am going to show two official Microsoft slides from the Ignite 2016 conference. The first image displays the current situation:

The next image shows the future situation:

 

 

The conclusion of these two images? Stream is going to be the default video service for Office 365.

Advice from Microsoft

What to do? Use the Office 365 Video Portal or start using Stream? Microsoft advices Office 365 customers to keep using the video portal. They promise a smooth transition of all your data and analytics towards Stream when the time is near. You don’t use Office 365? Start using Stream. The only downside is the preview status of Stream. There is no information about license costs and what features are included. My advice: Try out Stream but not for production purposes.

Stream Vision & Roadmap

Let me share the official vision & roadmap slide with you all:

 

Despite the fact that I am a big fan of the Office 365 Video portal, I have become really enthusiastic about Stream. The possibilities from Azure Media Services are endless. During the Ignite 2016 session about this topic (the recording is available on YouTube) the feature Deep Search was shown. What does this mean? While playing a video, the speech is automatically converted into a text file, the people in the video are recognized and you are able to navigate directly to the content of the selected person. The keywords are automatically added and any sentiment (positive, neutral or negative) are also recognized. Really amazing to see. In view of these developments, Stream can be rightfully called the future of video! The preview is available, go to https://web.microsoftstream.com/ and sign up quickly!

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Nicole Bird
    January 3, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Jasper, I am excited about the future integration of Stream in our O365 video portal, as it sounds like it will fix 2 of my 3 concerns:
    1. Slow time to store/encode.
    2. Unable to add a video to multiple channels
    Now, will the analytics be robust enough to capture the AD name of who viewed each video and when they viewed it? We really want to use this process to validate employees watch our training / compliance videos.

  • Reply
    Jasper Oosterveld
    January 4, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for your reply! There isn’t much known about the analytics at this moment. I definitely agree this is going to be very important. I will keep everyone up-to-date when there is more news to share.

    Regards,

    Jasper

  • Reply
    Jussi Sivonen (@jsivonen)
    January 10, 2017 at 10:13 am

    While getting better performance is a nice thing, it seems that the new Stream doesn’t deal with the two most frequently asked questions from my customers concerning video publishing in O365:
    – Editing videos. Even the simplest “trim” option would be a killer feature
    – Publishing outside O365 subscibers, like OneDrive for Business enables for regular files

    Especially former is single biggest reason why bulk of my customers can’t migrate their videos from services that offer video editing either on the mobile app or the browser. You got a crystal ball saying whether such features will materialize to Stream any day? 🙂

  • Reply
    Jasper Oosterveld
    January 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Hi Jussi,

    Thanks for your reply! Great feedback. I would advice to add it to the uservoice: https://office365video.uservoice.com/forums/273864-o365-video-feedback

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