Why 2018 could be a breakout year for Microsoft's Stream video service

Microsoft may be rallying to push its Microsoft Stream video service in calendar 2018 as part of its overall plan to try to make meetings better.

Last summer, Microsoft began rolling out Microsoft Stream, its replacement for Office 365 Video. Since then, Microsoft officials have made little noise about its business video service, but that seems likely to change in 2018.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela told our Windows Weekly podcast audience late last year that he considers Stream one of Microsoft's unsung hero products. Calling Stream a "hidden gem," Capossela likened it to "YouTube but for inside your company."

Another reason Microsoft is likely to promote the heck out of Stream this year: Amazon could be be readying its own competitor to YouTube which may or may not have anything to do with its existing Amazon Video Direct service.

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Capossela noted that Stream provides advanced capabilities, including an auto-captioning option, via which Microsoft will provide auto-captions for any Stream video users want. It also will allow users to do things like search within a video for a person's name, for example, and take the searcher directly to the place in a video where that name is mentioned.

Microsoft Stream is part of Microsoft's ongoing mission to make meetings and conferencing more productive. As I blogged last year, Microsoft has been dropping hints that it's got some new conferencing and meeting technologies up its sleeve -- including the ability to bring Cortana, its personal digital assistant technology -- into the scenario to facilitate the pre-/post-meeting process, as well as to help provide cues during meetings.

Skype for Business has been Microsoft's primary business-meeting service to this point. But Teams, which ultimately will replace Skype for Business, is emerging as the place where Microsoft will be investing heavily in conferencing/meeting services, going forward.

Under the covers, Stream uses media services from Azure and information provided by the Microsoft Graph application programming interface. Stream is for uploading, sharing, managing, and viewing corporate videos that can be used for education, training, and cross-company information sharing.

Microsoft Stream is available to those with Office 365 Education, Education Plus, Enterprise K1, Enterprise K2, Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3, and Enterprise E5 plans. Office 365 business users can access Stream from the Office app launcher or sign in from the Microsoft Stream website. Those without Office 365 can use Stream as a standalone service or test drive Stream as a free trial.

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