Last year at Ignite 2020, Microsoft announced a new vision for its video content management system Microsoft Stream. The changes are significant and are a cause for concern for organizations that had Microsoft Stream as a major part of their video strategy and were relying on it for their internal video use.
The new Microsoft Stream raises a couple of questions. Is it capable enough to solve video challenges in an enterprise? What can we expect from it based on the information provided regarding its current capabilities and through features in its roadmap?
Based on feedback of industry experts, our own research, knowledge and expertise of video streaming, this blog discusses our opinion regarding the impact of the new Microsoft Stream and the alternatives organizations have.
In summary, Microsoft Stream will now be able to leverage the power of SharePoint and OneDrive to improve video management in terms of permissions, sharing, compliance and governance. Above all, organizations can now share videos externally. On the other hand, Microsoft Stream videos will now be available through the SharePoint and OneDrive application, and the video portal approach (all videos in one place) will not be available. Certain other features will no longer be available in the new Microsoft Stream, for the time at least.
What Do We Know About the New Microsoft Stream?
Microsoft Stream was up till now, a standalone application, and this will now be known as Stream (Classic). The new Microsoft Stream will be integrated into the Office 365 Suite; mainly SharePoint and OneDrive. This will merge the power of the two applications:
- Microsoft Stream did not have the capabilities to effectively manage content. For instance, you couldn’t create folders to organize content. Content security and governance was an issue; setting permissions, custom retention periods, audit logs etc. SharePoint, on the other hand, easily allows you to do all of this.
- Microsoft Stream did not have the capabilities to effectively share content. For instance, you couldn’t share video content outside your organization. With SharePoint, you could easily do all of that.
- SharePoint did not have a rich video playback experience. No closed caption support and you would need to download the video to watch it with the best experience. Microsoft Stream, on the other hand, was optimized for video playback.
Based on documentation provided by Microsoft, the new Microsoft Stream will have a combination of features from Microsoft Stream (classic) and SharePoint, and all of this will be accessible through the SharePoint application (or OneDrive if the video is restricted to an individual). This, however, will be a gradual process and there will be a gap in features between the two versions.
How is the New Microsoft Stream Different from Classic Stream?
Nevertheless, the merging between Classic Stream and SharePoint isn’t simple and there are gaps between the two. Based on documentation from Microsoft and our research, we can summarize that the new Microsoft Stream:
- Will have no pre-encoding and caching for large files.
- Will have video transcripts in English only and no transcripts in multiple languages for the time being.
- Will not support manual uploading of transcripts.
- Will not support editing of transcripts.
- Will only support search for videos based on titles, but not transcripts.
- Will not have options for playback speed.
- Will have no option for video embedding
- Will not have screen recording functionality.
- Will not support quizzes or forms within videos.
- May or may not have live streaming (we are confused too!).
- Will allow you to organize content better (folders).
- Will allow you to view all file types (documents, images, presentations, videos) through one application – SharePoint.
- Will have the same editing features as the classic Microsoft Stream.
- Promises to offer a better video portal through the SharePoint application (You can view screenshots here).
- Will have recorded MS Teams meetings ingested into the Team SharePoint and individual OneDrive folders.
- Will allow you to comment, share, copy link, downaload, and see the version history of your video.
- Will have basic video analytics available now.
- Will have APIs available.
- Will have external sharing capabilities available now.
- Will allow you to view logs for video files easily through the SharePoint application.
- Will allow you to set a customized retention policy for videos.
Microsoft mentions that certain features of the classic Stream will gradually be available in the new Microsoft Stream.
For example, Microsoft mentions an interesting thing in relation to pre-encoding and encryption. SharePoint and OneDrive, for large bitrates over 50 Mbps, will not optimize videos for delivery over varying network conditions and devices (no pre-encoding and caching). This used to happen in the classic Microsoft Stream and will no longer be available. Microsoft also leaves a grey area as to when this would happen in the new Microsoft Stream, so organizations could potentially face video playback challenges.
The bottom-line being, Microsoft will gradually fill the gap between the two versions. But this is not known for sure. Certain questions are left unanswered. Live streaming being the most important one.
What About Live Streaming in the New Microsoft Stream?
In the classic Microsoft Stream application, live streaming was simple. All you had to do was select “live event” under the create option.
In the new Microsoft Stream, videos will be applicable through the SharePoint and OneDrive application. But, how would live streaming work in this case as this was a feature of the classic Stream application.
Microsoft does not give any details regarding live streaming in its documentation for the new Stream. It’s not on their product roadmap either. So, we will have to wait and see for this one. An interesting thing here is that Microsoft announced a temporary increase in limits for live streaming for classic Stream.
What Does it Mean for Your Organization?
Your organization could either do with the limited capabilities offered in the new Microsoft Stream, and wait for new features to develop over time. Or your organization could make use of an enterprise video platform that fills in this gap.
An enterprise video platform like VIDIZMO, can offer much more for video streaming that may not be offered in Microsoft Stream (both classic and new):
- Artificial Intelligence capabilities (object and facial search, and transcription in multiple languages)
- Custom metadata support
- Embedding of videos on any external site
- Embedding of application widget on any internal site (including SharePoint, LMS)
- SCORM support for e-learning videos
- Add surveys, forms, handouts and quizzes in videos
- Manually upload closed captions
- Search inside video using transcripts
- KLV Metadata support
- Offline viewing (desktop application)
- Integrations outside of Microsoft 365
- Support for 25 different types of SSO
- Integration with LMS, CMS, Zoom, MS Teams.
- Integration Google Analytics, HubSpot
- Branding and UI Customizability
- Location and IP restriction
- DRM Support
- Live Streaming (Support for multiple protocols – RTMP, RTSP, HLS etc.)
Apart from these features, the roadmap of features for VIDIZMO are much more aligned with improving video use across organizations. VIDIZMO has been solving complex video challenges for over 20 years and will actively work to solve upcoming challenges.
But here comes another question. If Microsoft Stream is included in my Office 365 subscription, then why should my organization pay for a separate enterprise video platform license? But the bigger question, is Microsoft Stream really free?
Is Microsoft Stream Really Free?
Video constitutes a major chunk of most organizations’ storage. It essentially leads to increasing costs that you pay for storage in Azure. Therefore, as people in your organization use Microsoft Stream to host and stream videos, you essentially are paying for the videos that are uploaded. Hence, Microsoft Stream is not entirely free.
Thankfully, VIDIZMO and Microsoft work together. VIDIZMO works in a similar way and all videos uploaded through VIDIZMO, will be uploaded in your Azure account storage. The costs would be similar, and you’ll have to pay for a VIDIZMO license, which brings in numerous benefits to your organization in terms of its video streaming and management capabilities.