Introducing Office 365 Video

Mark Kashman (@mkashman) is a senior product manager in the Office 365 group.

Over the years, SharePoint has been used not just for collaboration sites and document management, but also search, dashboards, company intranets, wikis, blogs and much more. We’ve categorized many of these under the same umbrella term, “Portals.”

Now we have a tremendous opportunity to expand on the Portals portfolio and deliver new experiences that have taken weeks, if not months, to build, based on common patterns of valuable portal solutions we’ve seen customers put in place. Going forward, Office 365 will serve as a platform for us to deliver the 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.

Today, we are excited to announce Office 365 Video, the first of many NextGen Portals landing in Office 365. Initially, we will roll out to Office 365 First Release customers. We then expect to be fully deployed worldwide to all Office 365 customers by early calendar year 2015.

There’s a lot to share about Office 365 Video and how it applies to the viewer, the channel manager and admins. Let’s dive into the details.

A beautiful user interface with an easy-to-manage approach

Video is one of the most powerful mediums of communication. Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content. From onboarding new employees, to distributing a CEO message company wide, to community contributions, video is now a first-class citizen to power and enrich your internal communications.

With a beautiful user interface and intuitive content management options, Office 365 Video is designed to meet the requirements of IT and win the hearts and minds of users. Powered by Azure Media Services—the same service used during the Olympics (6,000 plus hours of video in 18 days)—Office 365 Video benefits from adaptive smooth streaming technology optimizing video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. It, too, leverages Yammer and the Office Graph to deliver a social, personalized experience within Office 365.

Let’s take a moment to explore four core elements of Office 365 Video: 1) simplicity, 2) discoverability and share’ability, 3) mobile and 4) built-in security and easy to manage.

Simplicity—To upload a video, content owners simply drag and drop their video files into the web user interface—or upload from their mobile device—type a title and description, and let the service take care of the rest. You can upload a wide variety of video file types. The service then generates a standardized set of playback files for fast, easy viewing.

Office 365 Video 1

Learn more on how to Upload a video to Office 365 Video.

Watch the below illustrated video to learn more about how the service stores and preps your video file once you upload it into Office 365 Video.

Discoverability and share’ability—Videos are easily searchable via enterprise search, with a dedicated search experience in the video portal already scoped to show only video results. All uploaded videos are discoverable in Office Delve (similar to documents, videos are automatically fed into the Office Graph).

Office 365 Video 2New Delve cards will have unique elements for videos: the Office 365 Video logo, the duration of the video (1:25), and a link to the channel the video comes from (THE GARAGE videos).

Every video player page has easy access to share directly into Yammer via inline conversations. Simply type in your message, add a group or individual to send to and click Post. The conversation stays with the video in the video portal, and can be accessed from the main Yammer user interface or on devices through the various Yammer apps.

Office 365 Video 3

Like documents, Yammer Conversations are accessible inline within a video’s dedicated player page.

Mobile—People will be able to view and share videos within Office 365 on any device. They can easily navigate the home page and channels to find and view content, and even upload new videos from their device. We’ll share more news in the next few months about how you can best interact with your video portal from your mobile device.

Office 365 Video 4
Series of early-look screenshots showing the Office 365 Video mobile experience. Left-to-right: main home screen, viewing a video, navigating channels and uploading a video. 

Built-in security and easy to manage—It’s very easy to set the permissions for the home page leveraging the same Active Directory powering authentication in all areas of Office 365. This same governance model enables admins to manage permissions for each channel. Channels are easy to create and assign delegated owner(s)—or channel managers—who can then manage their own content and specific set of permissions.

Office 365 Video 5Admins screen for managing permissions and selecting desired videos for the home page’s Spotlight. 

Throughout the Office 365 Video portal, everything is encrypted and secure by design; that’s encryption at-rest and encryption in-transit. Adhering to the Office 365 Trust Center commitments, a company’s videos are kept isolated and encrypted in all locations, and are only available to authenticated employees that have access and permissions to their company videos.

Learn more about how to set up and manage your Office 365 Video portal.

Discover all help content about Office 365 Video and explore the new webpage for Office 365 Video on Office.com.

A look into the Office 365 Video near future

We’re extremely excited to deliver this new video streaming service within Office 365—but we’re just getting started. We’re already hard at work planning what comes next to Office 365 Video, which will roll out to the service automatically when the new features are ready. We’ll focus on broader mobile device coverage, “publish to” scenarios like using Office Mix to publish training content into Office 365 Video (coming soon – read more here), recommendations powered by Office Graph, ability to embed videos elsewhere in your intranet, captions, the ability to create collections and share them, and always monitoring performance and solid upload experiences and means to improve overall. If you have an idea for a future Office 365 Video feature, please visit our UserVoice page and submit your feedback and vote items up! You will see us continue to iterate and build more and more of what you tell us you need.

To sum it all up

Your business flourishes when all employees are informed, working together and aligned to the same important goals. Office 365 Video is just the first of numerous NextGen Portals to come to Office 365—portals to best support your corporate intranet needs, your knowledge management requirements, and facilitate how people and groups can best represent themselves—all designed to be mobile, engaging, intelligent and ready to go–for you. We’re excited to start this journey, to help you build less and use more.

Let us know what you think by keeping in touch on Twitter and Facebook.

‘Til then, lights, webcam, action!

—Mark Kashman

Join the YamJam

We will be holding an Office 365 Video YamJam on the Office 365 Community network on November, 20th at 9 a.m. PT. Request access to the Office 365 Community now. For those unfamiliar with a YamJam, it is similar to a “TweetJam” on Twitter or an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” on Reddit, except it takes place on Yammer. A YamJam provides the opportunity for the community to ask questions and have a discussion with a panel of Microsoft experts on a particular topic.

A little extra credit if you made it this far, a public, interactive Sway covering Office 365 Video. Be Swayed!

Frequently asked questions 

Q. Which Office 365 plans are required to get Office 365 Video?

A. Office 365 Video is included in the Office 365 E1, E2, E3 and E4 subscription plans (and the corresponding A2, A3 and A4 plans for Academic customers). Any user that has not been assigned one of the above licenses will not have use rights to Office 365 Video. Government plans are in planning, but not available at this initial release moment.

Q. Do customers have to incur additional costs for Azure Media Services consumption?

A. The integrated Azure Media Services usage does not incur additional cost to customer; videos stored in Office 365 will count against SharePoint Online team sites pooled storage.

Q. What Office 365 workloads must I have deployed for Office 365 Video to work?

A. Office 365 Video requires SharePoint Online. Once Office 365 Video has been rolled out to a qualified customer (as specified in the previous FAQ), Office 365 Video will be enabled for all users that have one of the eligible plans and have a SharePoint Online license assigned.

Q. When will Office 365 Video be available in my Office 365 environment?

A. Customers who have opted into First Release will begin seeing Office 365 Video appear over the next few days. Deployment beyond First Release, to standard deployment tenants is targeted to complete worldwide by early 2015.

Q. Can I turn off Office 365 Video for my tenancy?

A. Yes. You can disable and enable it from within the SharePoint Online admin center.

Q. Will Office 365 Video be available for the Office 365 Business SKUs (formerly the Small Business plans)?

A. No.

Q. Will Office 365 Video be available for the Office 365 Dedicated plans?

A. No.