This week on November 18th the Office 365 Video portal has started to be deployed on (“first release enabled”) tenants, as published in this official announcement : Introducing Office 365 Video.
Sooner or later, you may see it appear in your own tenant. It will show up as a new menu in the (“old”) Office365 top bar :
or rather as a new option in the new navigation bar (still deploying):
I will focus later in a second post on user experience and technical stuffs of this new capability but here I want to share why I think this is an important announcement to the whole Office 365 platform. Here are my points :
- From a usage perspective, storing and sharing video is a new workload for the platform.
- From an integration perspective, it’s integrated with Delve and Yammer.
- From a technical perspective, the architecture is hybrid between the Office 365 Saas platform and the Azure PaaS platform (Azure Media Services to be precise).
- From a roadmap perspective, this is the end of a trend of announces made at the last SPC
- From a strategy perspective, Office 365 Video is only the first step of a NextGen Portals journey
Let’s go through them :
1°) From a usage perspective, storing and sharing video is a new workload for the platform.
As far as video (in particular and digital asset in general) is concerned SharePoint (on-prem) had some capabilities in this area (cf. Digital asset library) but setting and managing this feature on-prem was so problematic that I don’t even know one customer who deployed it in production, for videos, at enterprise scale.
2°) From an integration perspective, it’s integrated with Delve and Yammer.
Videos are searchable and discoverable via enterprise search. They are fed into the Office Graph like any other documents on the platform and as such, they will show up in Delve results. This way, discoverability of videos will be strong.
The integration with Yammer is done via the toolbar on the right side. This way you can in the share comments and discussions on any video in the portal.
3°) From a technical perspective, the architecture is hybrid between the Office 365 Saas platform and the Azure PaaS platform (Azure Media Services to be precise).
This is well described in this short video : What happens to a video file when you upload it into Office 365 Video? This new type of architecture will definitely set the bar for any new services Microsoft (or any company) can imagine to extend Office 365.
To summarize it : the SaaS platform is used for its storage capabilities and as a front-end to the end-user. The PaaS service (Azure Media Services) is used as a back-end tool for its great on-demand processing capabilities and a content delivery media, managing the adaptive streaming broadcasting of videos.
The components are clearly positionned on this Teched slide :
4°) From a roadmap perspective, this is the end of a trend of announces made at the last SPC
After the introduction of Delve, Groups, Yammer integration, (and so many more big or small new features), this is the last great announce we were waiting for. In a few months, these have changed the shape of Office 365 forever. It’s definitely no longer the Exchange, SharePoint and Lync hosted services we used to work with. It’s much more, day after day, a new totally integrated platform with totally unique features.
We can expect at least new announces to come in order to shape the future of Office 365. The Ignite Conference will be a great moment for that, and you can already shape the content of it here :
5°) From a strategy perspective, Office 365 Video is only the first step of a NextGen Portals journey
Microsoft is embarking us (as customers) a new journey in Office 365. This video portal is the first implementation of a new generation of portals. We will have tools to deliver new types of portals.
In @mkashman own words :
Office 365 will serve as a platform for us to deliver new destinations–NextGen Portals–which by design will be:
- Intelligent, leveraging the Office Graph to deliver personalized, relevant information to users.
- Social, integrating social interactions from Yammer to fuel participation.
- Mobile, easy to access and consume content from any device, and anywhere.
- Ready to go, getting you up and running quickly with highly functional, beautiful intranet portals. Use more, build less.
To detail these points :
- Integration with Delve is done by considering each video in the portal as any document stored in Office 365.
- Integration with Yammer is done via the toolbar on the right side of any uploaded video.
- Mobile access will be available first via an iOS apps (we can obviously expect more to come).
- Ease of us is achieved via pre-configured user experience. In a general way, you can expect more railed experience that we had in the past with legacy SharePoint.
So this announce will definitely mark a big step in the evolution of Office 365.
These are great resources to better understand the trends behind Office 365 video portal :
Get Your Own Enterprise Streaming Video Service: Office 365 Video (from October 30, 2014, TechEd Europe 2014)