Why Am I Excited About Microsoft Stream?

Videos are no more a passive medium of information consumption. They are getting smarter day-by-day due to the infusion of the latest Web technologies and artificial intelligence into the medium. Over the past two decades, videos have become portable (they work on mobile devices), online, engaging (available in new visual styles), interactive, three-dimensional, spatial (360 degree), personalized, and smart.  

What is Stream? 

Talking of smart videos, there are a few tools available, which can convert normal videos into smart videos, the newest entrant being Microsoft Stream. It is a video and live streaming tool that is available to Microsoft Office 365 subscribers. Like WebEx, you can use this tool to host and record online presentations, meetings, and training sessions. So, what’s new about this tool? Read on. 

What’s New About Stream? 

According to online sources, after recording a video, Stream takes approximately 40 minutes to convert the recording into a smart video. The features of the smart video are: 

  • Line-by-line transcription with timecodes of what was said in the video, also known as speech-to-text technology 
  • Closed caption (subtitles) creation 
  • Conversion of the audio from the video into searchable text. Now, you can jump to any point in the video using search keywords. 
  • People detection using face detection technology. You can jump to the speaking segments of a specific individual in the video. 

In addition, you can add quizzes and polls to videos through Microsoft Forms integration. This way, you can make your smart videos interactive and engaging also. The integration of Stream with SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, OneNote, and Active Directory is the cherry on the top.  

What Does It Take to Run Stream? 

On computers, Stream just needs a browser, Webcam, and built-in microphone to record videos. Stream is also available on smartphones through Android and iOS apps.  

Why Is Stream Exciting? 

I am excited about this tool from an Instructional Designer’s standpoint because: 

  • It can help us easily transcribe our SME/KT session recordings. The text generated from the video can be used to develop training content quickly. As of today, we must listen to recordings and transcribe manually. 
  • We can quickly find information in the recordings through key word search instead of scrubbing the video timeline manually, which is a time-consuming activity. 
  • We can also jump to the segments of recordings where a specific team member or SME was speaking. 
  • The closed captions generated by the tool will further help us in comprehending the recordings better. 

Consequently, smart videos can simplify the content development process and make us more productive. 

The learners viewing virtual ILT recordings and Webinars using Stream can also benefit from these features and enjoy a better learning experience. 

How to Access Stream? 

So, with great excitement, I tried locating Stream in Microsoft Teams and found it by clicking the three dots on the tool bar. 

But, to my disappointment, I could not access it since it is still not enabled by my organization’s IT team as you can see in the screenshot given below. 

Hopefully, it will be enabled soon for our benefit.

Lot of Unanswered Questions 

I am sure you have several questions about this tool and how it works. I would like to know: 

  • Whether the tool can process Indian English accent and transcribe recordings successfully? 
  • Whether I can upload a video recorded outside Stream and still get it transcribed? 
  • Whether I can upload an audio file and get it transcribed? 

At this stage, we will have to rely on the Internet resources for finding answers to our questions. Let’s keep an eye on this tool and try it once it is available.  

Conclusion 

In conclusion, videos are the new documents. So far, it was easier to search and find information in text-based documents like Word, PDF, and PowerPoint. But, with all the smart features now available in videos, the gap between documents and videos is narrowing in terms of usability. Soon, videos may replace or supplement text-based documents.  

Discussion 

Please share your thoughts, views, and questions about Microsoft Stream and also the scenarios where we can use this tool in the training context. 

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