Microsoft Stream is a fantastic video service built into Office 365 that delivers some absolutely amazing features. However, this blog post isn’t about blowing smoke up Stream’s tailpipe. Most of the times MVPs will sing the praises of various Microsoft products, and sometimes we need to speak up – warts and all. This is one of those posts.
Last week Microsoft announced live events in Microsoft Stream, Microsoft Teams and Yammer. This is a great thing, really, it is. Unfortunately, however a number of the clients I work with and speak to in Australia do not have nice things to say about Stream because of three main reasons which I’ll outline below. To give a bit of context, Stream became Generally Available (GA) on June 20, 2017. It is no Spring chicken.
Office 365 Video
The Office 365 Video service still exists in the platform. As a result, there are two video streaming services in the one platform, and while it has been acknowledged that there will be a migration from one platform to another; there has been nothing further.
The most recent update is from February 2018 on the Microsoft Docs site: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/stream/migrate-from-office-365
Other than the ambiguous 2018 Q1/Q2 (which has come and gone) there is no timeline. We are still waiting. Perhaps this is something the Stream team are keeping under their belt to announce at the Microsoft Ignite conference, so that people will cheer for it (as opposed to the current stance where customers are frustratedly knocking on doors hoping for an answer).
The original post from the Stream team about it and Office 365 Video was written almost two years ago: https://stream.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-stream-and-office-365-video/
When Stream was launched in preview there was a screenshot of the sharing window within the product, where “Public” was an option; indicating the ability for people to be able to share videos externally. As this was a feature many users had been wanting from Office 365 Video, it was widely hoped that this feature would come to Stream. However here we are a year later with no external sharing with either named or anonymous users.
Over on the Stream Ideas site a thread shows that the feature is planned, but there’s no timing yet, and the comment is old. The same is applicable for Office 365 Video.
The frustrating thing is that this is possible when sharing a video file from SharePoint or OneDrive, but this does not offer any of the intelligent features of Stream; it’s simple file sharing that plays in a browser.
For now, organisations who want to share videos externally and want some metrics around views as well as providing transcriptions, links, and other integrated features… well… they will have to continue using YouTube or commercial services like Vimeo.
The transcription feature of Stream is touted as nothing short of fantastic for the discovery and search of content, because in reality it makes viewing a lot easier as people can jump straight to content based on the words they’re looking for. When it works…
In the land down under, I have not yet met a person who has found the transcription service anything close to useful. Stream became available in Australia on October 31st, 2017 so one might think that it understood “Australian”. We speak English here, and like many English-speaking nations we have our own accent. Within the country itself there are variations of this accent; something that is not unique to Australia. Here is the first thirty seconds of transcription from a couple of recorded videos I’ve uploaded (either from Teams or Skype for Business):
And, that nato is not as one.
Crazy here he all of a policy is a little
bit bars actually we we’ve been using stage roles to rule on
that haynes so agencies release it and laci hamas in ways
of warsaw with program holds the do
it the bob casey annotated pages on all with the head off stay away but
highly the wider way using chains unite the environment
What is the meaner?
For off I think what I’ll do is current build-out the
you won’t this I already inside is a thousand but the minute I
have a locker, yeah, and, then what is the benefits full
icu scenarios files so if you when you actually have or the
complex and you convention what is the benefited they get from and why do we
Pray tell, did any of that make sense to you? Occasionally we find nuggets of hilarity buried amongst the gibberish that it outputs, but for the most part it is useless.
The service is “launched” in Australia, our regional settings are set to English (Australian), yet it can’t understand us.
Many customers I’ve spoken to still use and like the Stream service as a whole but have resorted to turning off transcripts for every video they upload so as to avoid confusion and frustration.
What is confusing, is that when you try the Bing Speech to text service it is almost flawless – even when set to English (US). My expectation would be that Stream would use the same service as they are both powered by Azure, but I guess not.
Where to from here?
I urge users to go to the Microsoft Stream Ideas site on the TechCommunity and vote for the features they want to see most, especially as the service is becoming more integrated with the rest of the Office 365 platform.
If you want to be able to share a meeting recorded in Teams with the external people who were attending, and have a transcription that makes sense; you’ll need to push for it.
Also published on Medium.