Microsoft on June 20 officially launched Stream, an enterprise video hosting and streaming service that's set to replace Office 365 Video.
The software giant first unveiled Office 365 Video in 2014 as a solution for businesses seeking to share video content with their users. Based on Azure Media Services, Microsoft's cloud-based streaming platform that's famously known for hosting the NBC network's Olympics coverage, Office 365 Video enables customers to upload videos and incorporate them into various Microsoft applications, including Yammer.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Microsoft is giving the service a new name and adding features intended to help customers better manage and consume video on the platform.
"Microsoft Stream is a single destination for video management, with built-in intelligence, deep integration across Office 365 and the IT management and security capabilities that businesses of all sizes require," wrote Seth Patton, general manager of Office 365 Product Marketing at Microsoft, in a June 20 blog post. "It gives individuals a destination to contribute, search and discover all their company videos. It is also now the cross-suite video service for Office 365 in the enterprise, making it seamless for people to share videos inside Office 365 applications like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Yammer."
Used with Office 365 Groups, Microsoft stream offers each group a designated channel. The service also links with Azure Active Directory, the company's cloud-based identity and user access management offering, to help ensure that only authorized users or intended audiences can view uploaded videos, added Patton. Built-in encryption further helps keep out prying eyes.
Making the process of working with video easier and helping to spur adoption among workers, Microsoft claims users can upload, manage and share video content on Stream with just a couple of clicks. And similar to YouTube and other video sites, Stream serves up a personalized homepage with relevant videos, followed channels and trending content.
Microsoft Stream also borrows some of Azure Media Service's advanced functionality to imbue the service with intelligence.
The face detection feature can be used to keep track of when a person shows up in a video. The feature generates a clickable timeline for each face, enabling viewers to quickly zero in on a desired person's appearance. To add context to user reactions within the comments section of a video, Stream creates linked timecodes, enabling users to jump directly to the specific part of the video.
For improved search functionality, Stream features speech-to-text transcribed audio. Users can simply type in keywords to automatically jump to a point in a video when they are uttered.
In keeping with Microsoft's mobile-first product strategy, Stream videos can be viewed on mobile devices, PCs and across a range of screen sizes. In terms of accessibility, Stream supports closed captioning, a high contrast mode and keyboard navigation.
Microsoft Stream is available now as a standalone service and will soon be activated on current Office 365 Enterprise subscriptions. According to an online support document, Microsoft plans to start migrating users from Office 365 Video to Stream in phases beginning in the second half of this year.