Video is taking over the web, not only for individuals chatting online, but also businesses that collaborate within an organization. It is much easier to listen to a video message from a colleague than to read an email. And that may be one of the many reasons Microsoft Stream was just introduced.
In the announcement for Stream, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) recognized there are numerous platforms in the consumer space for video communications already. But Stream is a business video service for the workplace with features that have been specifically designed for business applications.
Stream is also part of Microsoft’s continuing effort to move everything to the cloud. It’s an effort in which Microsoft has seen considerable forward progress, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the company’s 2016 Q2 report. In the report, Nadella said, “Businesses everywhere are using the Microsoft Cloud as their digital platform to drive their ambitious transformation agendas.”
This is an important point as it applies to Stream, because the experience of Office 365 Video, which is delivered through the cloud, has driven its development. According to Microsoft, businesses will not have to “work” to use video, because Stream will be doing the heavy lifting.
Stream is Microsoft’s New Enterprise Video Platform
Cloud delivery means not having to worry about software or hardware, and with Stream the simplicity begins with the signup, which you can do in as little as five seconds, because you don’t need a credit card. All you need is a business email address to sign up for the preview. It is free (for now). Microsoft said it will provide additional details closer to general availability of the Stream service.
Anyone in your company can upload video to the relevant channels so they can be easily found. Additionally, hashtags can be placed in the description to expedite the process. Content discovery can be improved by machine learning based on trending videos, most liked videos and other key search terms.
Your business can also boost the visibility of videos on Stream sharing and liking them, as well as embedding videos in the webpages of your business website. People that might not comment in a meeting, but may do so on a video they just watched. This quickly lets administrators know what is working so they can make changes.
You can create different channels based on the needs of your company. These channels could be for specific categories like sales, groups, topics or anything else for that matter. You can then upload the videos and use the drag-and-drop feature to place them in their corresponding channels. Smart search can be conducted using keywords, hashtags or coworker names. Even the audio content of each video is indexed to deliver a more accurate search results.
Keep up With Trends
Stream provides the insights you need to create videos that are more engaging for your employees. The views, likes and comments can be used to keep a pulse on what is trending. You can then use the searchable descriptions and custom hashtags to help others find the most relevant content quickly.
Maintain Privacy and Security
Secure video management gives administrators the ability to control how the content is shared and to which channels. Access can be managed to the individual viewer level, with privacy labels that can be customized for different groups. Videos are encrypted when they are uploaded, and the Azure Activity Directory is used to protect sensitive content with secure application access.
Access on Any Device
Stream can be accessed on any device, anywhere, and anytime, an important feature in today’s remote/collaborative work environment.
Small Business Applications
If you are a small business that uses video or is thinking about using it within your company, now is a great time. For one, Stream is currently available for free. This will let you take it for a spin so you can determine if it is delivering value for your organization. Secondly, video is a growing communication medium that can be accessed by your employees anytime. You can deliver meetings, courses, notices and new opportunities that are more personal than email and easier to digest.