You may have already seen the exciting announcement from Bill Staples about the new Azure App Service. On the heels of that announcement, we are very excited to announce a new addition to the Azure App Service ecosystem with the release of Azure Media Services connector. Azure Media Services connector will enable you to build video and rich media into your apps and services without having to worry about the complexities associated with preparing and hosting video for delivery to a diverse set of devices.
What is Azure Media Services Connector?
Azure Media Services (AMS) is being used today by several large (and small) media companies to deliver mega scale events like the Olympics and FIFA World cup, as well as Premium VOD services like Blinkbox. Azure Media Services also powers Office 365 Video, a new solution for internal video that’s available as part of the Office 365 offering. With Azure Media Services Connector, we are now bringing the same scale and capabilities to Azure App Service customers. AMS Connector offers you a simple REST API to upload and stream videos to a wide range of devices.
For scalable streaming over the Internet, video needs to be transcoded, hosted and streamed. And if you want to deliver a great user experience, streaming should be adaptive, which means the quality and format of the stream is determined automatically based on device, screen size and network conditions. Finally, you need a player that can play back an appropriate stream on any device. AMS Connector APIs provide a simple HTTP REST API that enables you to upload your video into the cloud and then get a URL for streaming content, a URL for thumbnail and basic metadata.
How can I use AMS Connector?
AMS Connector can power many different scenarios for you. At a high level, the AMS Connector APIs offer a way to host videos and associated metadata like thumbnails, transcribed audio, etc. in a way where the video can be streamed to any device anywhere. The platform will automatically pick the right quality and format based on the device type, screen size and network conditions. This enables app and service developers to focus on their core application, while letting AMS handle the video delivery to all screens with just a few simple API calls.
Here are some examples of potential enterprise use cases for Azure Media Services Connector:
- Building line of business applications that are video enabled – for apps where video is a key content type (e.g., a site inspection app, an internal training app, etc)
- Building vertical solutions around video for Enterprises – for pro devs or ISVs building vertical solutions like Enterprise Tube or Learning Management systems
- Enhancing websites with video – for building simple websites (e.g., a marketing website for a product) where you want to embed videos as part of the experience
- Building live event capabilities – for building experiences around large scale streaming events like employee town halls, monthly CEO Q&A, etc. where you want to reach wide audiences that may be remote or unable to join in person
There are just a few examples of the types of enterprise applications that can be enhanced with video. Think about how video is used in your organization today, and how using video would take collaboration and communication to the next level if it were more accessible.
Availability and Pricing
During the preview period, the AMS Connector is available in the US-East region and is free for now for everyone to try. We are working on rolling out the service to other regions and also working on finalizing the pricing details. Please stay tuned for those but please go ahead and try out the service. We would love to hear your feedback. Our goal is not only simplify the APIs but also simplify the billing models as we roll out this service broadly so we are working hard on that.
The AMS Connector is available to try out now. You can get started by visiting Azure management portal and installing “Azure Media Services Connector” from API Apps section. Please refer to the blog post “Getting Started” to learn more.