YouTube for businesses? Microsoft unveils a new cloud-based video service intended to help companies organize and share their video content.
Microsoft wants to make it easier for businesses to manage and share their videos with a new cloud-based offering called Office 365 Video
According to Mark Kashman, senior product manager for Microsoft Office 365, Office 365 Video is the "first of many NextGen Portals," SharePoint-inspired smart hubs that act as social, shareable and mobile destinations for business professionals. "Office 365 Video is designed to meet the requirements of IT and win the hearts and minds of users," said Kashman in a Nov. 18 blog post.
Office 365 Video is powered by Azure Media Services, Microsoft's cloud-based digital media transcoding and delivery platform for video content producers. First announced in 2012 and launched in early 2013, the service was NBC's go-to online video provider for its coverage of this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Today, the technology is being put to work in a more corporate setting. And mobile-enabled workforces are Microsoft's target.
"Office 365 Video benefits from adaptive smooth streaming technology optimizing video playback for the device it's being viewed on," said Kashman. "It, too, leverages Yammer and the Office Graph to deliver a social, personalized experience within Office 365," he said, noting the product's collaborative bent.
Office 365 Video supports drag-and-drop uploads. Supported video codecs include H.264, MPEG-4 v2 and, of course, Windows Media Video, among others. After videos are uploaded, they are can be found via enterprise search, he added.
Videos also appear in Microsoft's smart, Flipboard-like Office 365 app. "All uploaded videos are discoverable in Office Delve (similar to documents, videos are automatically fed into the Office Graph)," revealed Kashman. Unlike traditional news and activity feeds, Office Delve, formerly "Oslo," leverages machine learning to deliver information and content that is relevant to a user's role or projects.
Office 365 Video is also integrated with the company's enterprise social networking platform, Yammer. "Every video player page has easy access to share directly into Yammer via inline conversations," he stated. Conversations are linked to posted videos, which can be accessed via Yammer apps or the stock Yammer interface.
Finally, administrators needn't worry that their companies' video will end up becoming available for all to see, asserted Kashman.
"It's very easy to set the permissions for the home page leveraging the same Active Directory powering authentication in all areas of Office 365," he wrote. "This same governance model enables admins to manage permissions for each channel. Channels are easy to create and assign delegated owner(s)—or channel managers—who can then manage their own content and specific set of permissions."
Office 365 Video is being rolled out to Office 365 First Release customers first. The service is expected to be available to all Office 365 Enterprise (E1, E2, E3 and E4) and Academic (A2, A3 and A4) customers in early 2015. A government version is in the works, according to a company FAQ.