On Monday, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Stream, a cloud-based service that makes it easier to share, tag, and discover video content in the workplace. Stream was announced via the official Microsoft blog, and the company hopes it will help businesses more easily leverage share and consume content at work.

“As one of the most consumed and shared content types on the internet, video is increasingly an important part of our personal lives,” the post said. “We believe video can–and should–be just as impactful in the workplace.”

SEE: Streaming media policy template (Tech Pro Research)

So, what exactly does Stream do? According to Microsoft it “democratizes access to and discovery of video at work.” It’s supposed to help organizations better collaborate around video by offering a YouTube-like platform that is built for businesses.

For example, Microsoft Stream could be used to archive and search training videos, or to keep track of recorded video interviews or simple video calls.

Users can upload and manage their videos using simple drag-and-drop capabilities. Organizations can designate specific channels for marketing or training, for example, and can add specific users as collaborators for those channels. Machine learning determines which videos are trending, and the videos are also searchable through hashtags.

Microsoft Stream is available on all devices, and videos can be managed securely using identity management through Azure Active Directory–especially helpful if your content contains proprietary company information. Videos can be shared via email or posted to the company’s website.

In the future, Microsoft said that Stream could evolve to include a variety of additional features such as seamless corporate broadcasting, intelligent video search, video integration in business apps and workflows, additional IT manage capabilities, Microsoft Stream APIs, and an expanded Microsoft Stream App Ecosystem.

SEE: Microsoft Azure … in less than two minutes

Microsoft Stream is building on the Office 365 Video product, and the two will eventually converge. However, existing Office 365 Video customers shouldn’t expect any immediate changes.

Stream is built on top of Azure Media Services, and all it takes is a valid business email address to sign up for a free preview, with no credit card required.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft announced a free preview of Stream, a cloud-based video discover and management tool aimed at business customers.
  2. Similar to YouTube, users can upload, manage, and search videos easily, but with added business features like security from Azure Active Directory.
  3. Stream will eventually supplant Office 365 Video as the de facto solution, but current Office 365 Video users shouldn’t expect any disruptions.