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Video Comes to Office 365 and SharePoint Online

This week, Microsoft announced the release of an Office 365 Video Portal (see Office 365 Video ).
This is an exciting first step into an area of great demand and large potential. In the past, many larger enterprises purchased dedicated 3rd party solutions for the management of video content. Smaller organizations typically leverage You Tube.  SharePoint deployments at small and mid-size companies sometimes use native Video content types and/or custom solutions.
The Office 365 Video portal goes above and beyond SharePoint video content type in many important ways:

  • The Video Portal is somewhat akin to the “old school” SharePoint Document Center.  The Video Portal is a dedicated “home” Site Collection with support for securable “channels”.  Each channel can have completely independent permissions and administrators and is mapped to a unique site collection.
  • Uploaded videos are converted for playback on a variety of formats/media/qualities.  At playback time, the video portal dynamically adjusts the playback (every 2 seconds) to use the most appropriate format for the device/bandwidth conditions.
  • The original upload is managed in a SharePoint site collection (and incurs storage cost); the converted files are managed via Azure Media Services and do NOT result in additional storage charges
  • Videos will appear in Enterprise Search results and views are tracked in analytic reports.

Its important to note that this is a v1 product with the following areas for future improvement:

  • Playback is via Flash, not HTML 5.  This represents a large roadblock for Mobile device use.  Microsoft acknowledges this and HTML 5 support is clearly on the roadmap
  • Uploaded videos are limited to 2GB with larger limits (aka OneDrive consumer version) undoubtedly in the works
  • Videos live in their “host” site collection and are not  integrated across all tenant site collections via apps; simpler link sharing/embedding is possible
  • Extranet and/or Intranet use cases are not currently supported

Even with the v1 caveats, this will be a great value added for many Office 365 customers.  The feature can be enabled/disabled at the tenant level, so organizations will have time to evaluate the ROI and launch when appropriate.

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