Microsoft Stream, a new video management tool for Enterprise customers, was officially launched on Tuesday June 20.
This isn’t Microsoft’s first venture into video services for businesses. More than a decade ago it launched the short-lived Soapbox, which was ultimately discontinued. In 2015 it tried again with Office 365 Video and last July it previewed Microsoft Stream. In many ways Stream can be seen as an evolution of Office 365 Video with a number of new intelligent features.
A Common Destination For Video Management
In a blog post on Tuesday, James Phillips, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Business Applications Group, wrote: “Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of Microsoft Stream and the new intelligent features that will enable greater productivity and user engagement with video.
“Microsoft Stream provides a common destination for video management, with built-in intelligence features, deep integration across Office 365 and the IT management and security capabilities that businesses of all sizes require.”
He added that Stream would be available as part of existing O365 commercial plans, as well as a standalone app.
So what are the new features and how does the new package look?
New Intelligent Features
The new intelligent features include:
- Searchable Transcribed Audio - Type in keywords and easily jump to any point in the video where they are spoken
- Face Recognition and Detection - This allows viewers to see where different people appear in the video, indicated by a clickable timeline
- Linked Timecodes - Timecodes are displayed in the comment section, linked to contents or transcripts to allow you to easily identify and jump to wherever you want to be in the video
Usability & Security
In keeping with Microsoft’s mobile-first approach, Stream videos are accessible across the full range of devices and screen sizes. To aid accessibility it also supports closed captioning and keyboard navigation and features a high contrast mode.
You can set up a personalised homepage with video suggestions, trends and followed channels that will be familiar to YouTube business users. Users can upload, manage and share video content in a couple of clicks, while the service uses built-in encryption, along with a link to the Azure Active Directory, to ensure that only intended and authorised recipients can view the videos.