It’s hard to find an organization that doesn’t use at least some Microsoft products these days. So, when Microsoft makes big changes, those changes can ripple out into a lot of our workflows. In the last few years, Microsoft has made a number of moves to take video more seriously, one of those being the creation of Microsoft Stream, their video management tool. But now Microsoft has announced major changes to Microsoft Stream. If your organization has based part of its video strategy on Microsoft Stream, along with Teams, you may be wondering where to go from here.
What Do We Know About the New Microsoft Stream?
As you might be aware, Microsoft has announced end-of-life of Microsoft Stream as we know it (what organizations are currently using will be renamed Microsoft Stream Classic). When you drill down into their announcements, the details are all still vague. Microsoft has not yet announced what is coming or when it is coming – there’s currently no date set for the official new launch.
What we can tell is that Microsoft is going towards a path of integrating video much more deeply into Office 365. Video is becoming a native data type of Microsoft Office, like Word or Excel. Any application in the Microsoft suite that creates a video will create that new data type. Videos across Microsoft 365 (SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Teams) will all be considered Stream video files.
Unlike the old Stream, the new Stream is moving away from Video Portal functionality. Those who still wish to use Microsoft for their video portal, will now need to rely on SharePoint Online and Microsoft Graph File APIs, which are limited in their ability to support video content management and governance capabilities and workflows.
What Do the Changes to Microsoft Stream Mean for My Organization’s Current Stream Videos?
We’re still learning the main implications of this move. But one thing is clear – videos from the old Microsoft Stream will not simply transfer to the new Stream. If you want to keep any of your assets, it will require a complex migration.
For one thing, all embed codes will need to be changed, which for many organizations will be a massive project. The new metadata structure is likely to be different, meaning a complex migration of metadata mapping will need to be performed. The content will likely need to be retranscoded, as well as any entitlements remapped.
If your organization has thousands of videos you’ve spent time organizing, all of that will need to be rethought out when migrated to the new Stream. If your company had a sophisticated video strategy that was dependent on Stream, you’re going to be on hold for a year or two now until the new Stream tools are fully available.
If your intranet is already based in SharePoint, you’ll still need to do the migration and rethink your strategy. But at least it will be familiar territory, if you can figure out how to make it work for you. If you don’t already have or want SharePoint, though, you will need to make some big decisions. In either case, if you were using the Video Portal functionality, staying with Stream as an organizational structure means switching from a video portal to an intranet style of organization.
Will the New Microsoft Stream Have the Video Features of Classic Stream?
It looks like there will be a very large feature parity gap between Classic Stream and what’s coming. If you want to stay with Microsoft Stream, you’ll need to find ways to close the gap for yourself.
While not much is known, it is clear that there’s a feature parity gap between classic Stream and the new Stream, with sufficient deficiencies around basic video content management capabilities, and no indication as to when these might be reintroduced.
According to Microsoft, the following features are not currently available in the new Stream:
- Search – currently no ability to find videos in the new Stream
- Captions and Enrichment – no transcriptions, closed captions, and subtitles
- Publishing and Distribution – embed codes and video webpart for SharePoint pages are not supported, which will make it difficult to use video in externally-facing uses such as sales, marketing, customer support, partner portals, etc.
- Channels and Playlists – organization is within SharePoint folders, no centralized video organization, no support for channels and watchlist
- Video Creation – screen recording not supported
- Interactivity – no support for video quizzing with Forms
- Playback Performance – full playback at Classic Stream scale not supported
- <3 Mbps will use progressive download instead of adaptive bitrate
- >50 Mpbs videos will have to be downloaded for local playback (not only is this potentially painfully slow, it introduces a number of security issues)
- Playback Speed – ability to change playback speed currently not supported
- Video Player Metadata – no support for descriptions, comments, transcripts, Forms, etc.
- Mobile Application – having a dedicated Stream mobile application is currently not supported
In addition, integrating Microsoft Stream videos outside of Office 365 was never easy, and does not seem likely to become more so. At a time when many organizations are trying to increasingly integrate their various SaaS solutions, this will continue to keep video relatively isolated.
Stream was Never “Free”
There’s a perception that video within Microsoft is “free,” since most organizations just get the full Office 365 suite, and Stream is included. The problem is that video is by far the biggest user of storage. You do pay for your file storage quota. When most of your files are Word and Excel documents, you can fit a massive number of documents into a relatively small amount of storage, and storage needs increase fairly predictably over time. But video use is accelerating dramatically, especially because of COVID-19. And that means potentially exponential increases in the amounts of storage will be needed for your video files. As your video storage needs grow, video will consume much of the existing file storage quota from OneDrive and SharePoint. Basically, as video gets pushed into SharePoint and your employees continue to increase their video usage, storage costs will surge.
Plus, with the feature gaps between Classic Stream and the new Stream, you’re going to have to buy new video solutions to fill those gaps, from creation to publication. The hidden costs, lack of features, and limited integration capabilities are about to become much more visible.
Kaltura and Microsoft – Better Together
Fortunately, there’s no reason you have to choose. Building on Kaltura’s philosophy of openness and flexibility, Kaltura and Microsoft work beautifully together. Kaltura makes it easy to complement and extend Microsoft across every use case, meaning you get to enjoy the benefits of O365, while at the same time continuing with your video strategy across your organization.
Here are a few examples how Kaltura and Microsoft complement one another:
- Transform Your Teams Meetings into Live Townhall Events: Teams is a fantastic video conferencing solution, but becomes less appealing as you scale up. Kaltura Townhalls offers an unparalleled ability to power webcasts to unlimited audiences around the world, and can be connected to Teams in the background to extend your Teams broadcast to enormous audiences. With Kaltura, you also get access to tools to increase your engagement, such as moderated Q&A, announcements, and polls. In addition, advanced analytics make it easy to monitor and analyze Quality of Service (QoS) in real-time, plus to track engagement analytics both during and post the live event.
- Manage Your Teams Meetings Recordings at Scale: With the launch of the New Stream (subject to change based on Microsoft roadmap), your Teams meetings recordings can be automatically uploaded to Kaltura (via multiple routes including Microsoft OpenGraph APIs) where they can be easily managed and enriched at scale.
- Enhance Your Video Capabilities Within Teams: Adding Kaltura to Teams also adds capabilities to create and share videos, build video galleries, and much more from within the Teams environment.
- Better Integrate SharePoint with Your Video Portal: SharePoint and Kaltura have a seamless integration, giving you the ability to still organize your Microsoft videos in a beautiful and feature-rich video gallery.
At the same time, you would add on top of your Microsoft tools full access to the unrivaled power Kaltura brings to video creation, management, and delivery, including:
- Centralized Enterprise-Grade Video Portal for all live and on-demand video content with a native mobile app, channels and playlists, and access control through SSO
- Robust Search Capabilities, including in-video search, based off sophisticated metadata.
- Support for Both Internal and External Use Cases including not just internal communication and collaboration but also marketing, customer and partner portals, investor relations, and extranets.
- Powerful Video Creation with capture tools for multi-stream recordings synchronized with a PowerPoint presentation and screen capture.
- Video editing, enrichment, and interactive tools including video quizzes, hotspots, and choice-based interactive video paths; captions, transcriptions, and translations.
- Customizable Players with branding, playback speed variations, and support for multiple caption languages, with secure, adaptive bitrate delivery to any authorized device.
- Advanced Analytics for both Live and VOD: deep, granular analytics for both engagement and Quality-of-Service (QoS).
- Integration with 3rd Party Enterprise Systems and Solutions: Seamless integration with Marketing automation systems, Learning Management Systems (LMS/VLE), Content Management Systems (CMS), and Video Conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Webex, and Teams.
Migrating from Microsoft Stream
In any case, you’re facing a migration from Microsoft Stream (Classic) in the next year. Planning a video strategy around Microsoft Stream right now means putting video strategy on hold, at least until Microsoft issues more details and most likely for several years until they catch back up with their current feature set (if they choose to go that way at all).
But if you choose to move away from Stream as your video portal, that doesn’t mean you need to stop using the other great Microsoft tools your employees are used to. With Kaltura, you can close the gaps, taking advantage of Microsoft’s strengths as well as Kaltura’s for a full top-to-bottom video solution. Migrating now will let you continue the work your company has already put into its video strategy with a minimum of disruption. Meanwhile, by putting your trust in a company that puts video first, you’ll future-proof your video investment. Change is coming, no matter what you choose. But there’s no reason that change can’t be great for you in the long run.
Want to see how to combine the power of Microsoft and Kaltura for your organization?