The TV is on. The Euro 2020 finals between England and Italy has just kicked off. But Sunday nights are blog nights: and so trying to get the best of both worlds I will be writing a short blog about a granular but useful addition to functionality which came along for the approvals app this week. This is the ability to use generic links. Up until this point, we've had the ability to upload documents from a local machine; we've had the ability to add a document from OneDrive. But nothing regarding SharePoint; nothing about something other than a document. Now, we know that support for SharePoint - here meaning a dedicated option within the approvals app along with a site and file picker, is on its way. This is within the item on the Microsoft 365 roadmap - RID 70787. However, being able to use a generic link we don't have to wait for that. Indeed, generic links are really flexible insofar that we can start to review and approve anything which has a URL. This opens up some interesting scenarios
given that I pretty much liked everything about Stream: the web experience, the mobile experience. Both were easy to use and did what it said on the tin. It had started to have great features like trim and screen capture. It could be brought into Teams in a number of ways - and kudos has to go to the Stream Team for how hard they must of worked on it; creating a strong app which was really taking off and really focused bringing out the best in video. However, on the other hand whilst recognising all of this; pivoting made a lot of sense. There was a growing amount of noise and frustration from the tech community about not being able to share video externally, about not being able to apply common compliance functionality such as retention. Since Stream had it's own completely separate storage many things had to be developed separately. Whilst I know there was plans to do this - ones which were very near to completion since I was involved in roundtables previewing the functionality; in a world where apps like Microsoft Lists were being designed to work right across the stack leveraging existing storage on SharePoint and OneDrive and existing security and compliance functionality; Stream felt outside of that almost moving in the opposite direction. So 'bringing it into the Microsoft 365 stack', the idea that a video 'is a file just like any other file' won out. And what did that mean? Stream 2.0 would pivot to become the player across the Microsoft 365 stack. SharePoint and OneDrive would house video files. There would be a new personal web app, a new player and video 'portals' which could be created on SharePoint. Now, in the time between Ignite 2020 and now much has focused on things such as recordings, changing the default location to SharePoint and OneDrive and CDN support. We know that the new player is coming soon due to it hitting the message centre. However not much has come out officially about the web portal and when we can start using it. Tonight, out of sheer curiosity I had a go at amending an URL since this worked previously for Lists via OneDrive. The new Stream portal is already there. This wasn't in a TAP or preview ring. This was in a Ring 4 GA tenant. Let's see what we can do
If I asked you to think of a scenario where you would use recording in the context of Teams, then I would wager that - today - you would probably say meetings followed by calls. Most people would - and that's as expected. Yet a month ago, the ability to record your screen was added to the Stream web app. Now, the ability to record video in Stream has been around for a few months in the mobile app but the big difference is that with the web app you can publish directly into stream channels after the video has been recorded. This functionality for mobile will absolutely come at some point - but today, it is important to know that because you can record and select a Stream channel whilst publishing, you can therefore publish directly into a Teams channel. Imagine - you need to show someone in the Team how to do something, or provide them with a canned demo, or provide the team with a video to analyse before a meeting. This is one of those key functionalities - like shared system audio - which kind of fly under the radar when they first emerge. Don't get me wrong here - its far from what it could be in the future being limited to 15 minutes, limited to Windows in terms of system audio and camera capture only possible when sharing the screen (as opposed to an app or browser tab). However, think of the future - when the 15 minutes limit is raised, when it's possible for macs, when camera capture is possible in all sharing options and when you have a set of editing tools. It's on a great trajectory
Sometimes, we can't always hear whose speaking in the meeting because it is noisy where we are. We may be in a busy office, near a construction site or in a cafe. Live captions is a great way to circumvent this issue. It gives participants a way to follow along with the conversation, whilst also being includisve of participants with different hearing abilities or language proficiencies.
Little needs to be said here about why meetings need to be recorded. There are too many reasons to list. Yet we can probably agree that the principle ones are an organisation has to record them for compliance purposes, someone needs to watch the meeting at a later date or people want to have a record of the meeting when important decisions are made. Recording is very easy to do in Teams - however the awareness of everything around recording - such as compliance, where the recording is stored, who can play it in Teams after it has been recorded, can be low