Microsoft Announces New Business Video Platform Called Stream, Will Replace Office 365 Video

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.17.46 PMThis morning, Microsoft announced the preview of a new business video platform called Microsoft Stream. Geared towards business communication, Stream builds upon the learnings of Office 365 Video, and over time the two experiences will converge, making Stream the de facto video experience in Office 365. I got to see a demo of the new Stream offering and overall, was quite impressed. While Stream has some limitations today, Microsoft envisions Stream as a unified communications platform and plans to add a lot more functionality, making it a true end-to-end enterprise video platform. Anyone with a business email can sign up today and use Stream for free to upload, share, discover, tag, secure and playback their video.

Microsoft isn’t saying when they plan to start charging for Stream, or what it will cost, but did say they will always have a version of Stream that remains free. The company told me they will give out more details on different pricing packages by the end of the year.

While Stream has a good start in terms of features, a lot more needs to be added to the platform to make it on par with some of the other solutions in the market. In my conversations with Microsoft, they are already well aware of what they need to add and here’s how they see Microsoft Stream evolving:

  • Deliver corporate broadcast seamlessly: Increasingly the way organizations are communicating and connecting is through live video. We believe that Microsoft Stream portal should be the destination for both live and video on demand.
  • Intelligent video search: We believe true power of video will be realized once we are able to search within the video. Leveraging capabilities such as audio transcription and face detection, we can enable deep search, empowering employees to find relevant content faster.
  • Make video part of your business apps and workflows: With the ability to integrate Microsoft Stream with other business apps like PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, SharePoint and other line of business applications, we see great opportunity to leverage the richness of video across apps.
  • IT management capabilities: We recognize the critical role IT plays in managing content and user access to internal content. We plan to enable IT to manage access and settings like granting and assigning channel and video access, remove and monitor content and manage what is viewable to specific groups in the organization.
  • Microsoft Stream App Ecosystem: We believe our partners will take Microsoft Stream experiences to the next level. Using Microsoft Stream APIs, partners will be able to create custom applications and make them available in AppSource, Microsoft’s marketplace for business applications we announced earlier this month.

While Microsoft hasn’t said the timing on when these new features will be coming to the market, customers will also be able to automate business workflows through Microsoft Stream’s planned integration with Microsoft Flow, a business application to automate workflows among customer’s favorite apps and services. So we can expect to see Stream turn into quite a robust enterprise video platform over time, with a lot of functionality. And by tying Stream into Microsoft’s cloud services, especially Azure Media Services, which lets you ingest and encode live video, it’s clear that Microsoft wants Stream to become the standard platform enterprises use for both live and on-demand video. You can see a marketing video of the platform here.

The Pokemon Go Craze Is Having No Material Impact On CDNs & Wireless Carriers

Last week, someone put out a note on Wall Street suggesting that the whole Pokemon Go craze would be positive for CDN provider Akamai. But in reality, Pokemon Go is built on Google App Engine’s platform as a service, which provides the game with a mobile backend. Google’s Cloud platform is powering Pokemon Go, not Akamai. Niantic Labs, which made the Pokemon Go game with backing from Google and Nintendo, stores and indexes Pokemon Go’s data from the game using Google Cloud Datastore’s NoSQL database. Pokemon Go also uses the game engine product Unity to help create the online game world and also uses Google Analytics.

The confusion for some probably stems from the fact that Akamai put out a press release in April, announcing Nintendo as a customer. I think it is possible that Akamai might see a small bump in traffic from other Nintendo related content thanks to Pokemon Go, but it’s not going to materially affect their revenue. It’s also interesting to note that Sandvine has put out some numbers on the usage and the traffic from Pokemon is quite small, averaging just 8MB used per hour.

Some have also suggested that the wireless carriers are seeing a ton of traffic because of Pokemon Go, but that’s not the case. Last week, Verizon Wireless said that Pokemon Go makes up less than 1% of its overall network data traffic. I checked with someone from T-Mobile, who didn’t want to be quoted, but said they also were seeing less than 1% of total traffic from Pokemon Go usage. No doubt about it, Pokemon Go is having a big impact on a lot of consumers right now, but it’s not having a material impact on CDNs or mobile operators.

Updated Chart Lets You Compare All Of The Streaming Boxes and OTT Platforms

With all the options in the market for getting your streaming media fix, trying to keep track of which box supports 4K, has support for HDR or which content services are available can be confusing. So I’ve just recently updated our streaming media devices chart which will make it easier to compare specs on each box. The latest version of the chart can always be found at www.streamingmediadevices.com and in the lower right hand corner is the date the chart was last updated.

Thanks to Amazon, Roku, Microsoft, TiVo, Sony and NVIDIA for fact checking and confirming all the specs you see on the chart. But if you find an error, or have any questions on which box to pick, email me anytime mail@danrayburn.com

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Mobile Video Survey: Would Viewing Video Offline Be Something To Consider In Your Roadmap?

I’m doing a quick 5 question survey on mobile video trends, interested to hear people’s comments, results will be shared with everyone.


July 26th Streaming Meetup: Come Play Classic Video Games, Drink Beer & Network

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The next meetup will be Tuesday July 26th at www.barcadenewyork.com – 148 West 24th Street between 6th/7th. Start time is 6pm. Come play classic video games, drink beer and network. This venue should also allow us more room so it’s not as crowded as it was for the last meetup. Thanks to our sponsors JNK Securities, Hola CDN, Elemental Technologies, and Imagen for agreeing to pick up some of the bar tab.

Thanks to the nearly 200 people who made it to the June meetup and a special thanks to www.PacTV.com and www.Kaltura.com for sponsoring and picking up some of the bar tab.

I’ll keep organizing these every month except for August. All you need to do is bring a business card to get in.

If you would like to sponsor a meetup, by covering some of the bar tab, please let me know.