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.
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!