During InfoComm 2021, when I met with Nic Milani, vice president of product at Epiphan Video, he challenged me to think differently about video and what it could mean to the AV industry. During our chat, he painted the picture of a future where creating broadcast-quality content using video conferencing tools would become the norm for corporate, higher education, and other markets.
Fast-forward to today. Microsoft (opens in new tab) is using Epiphan Connect, a cloud-based Teams integration, to broadcast their Global All-Hands events to their workforce. Thinking back on my conversation with Nic, I wondered what changes have happened to bring both companies together at this exciting event.
With corporations heavily invested in collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, the question that’s top of mind for many business leaders has shifted from, “How do I keep all my employees connected remotely?” to “How do I unlock the full potential of this powerful communication tool?”
Epiphan Connect Integrates with Microsoft Teams
"The beauty of Epiphan Connect is that it integrates with Microsoft Teams, a tool everyone is familiar with and is very much plug-and-play.”
Microsoft sought out AV technology pioneer Epiphan Video to help them answer this question. For over 18 years, Epiphan has been defining a new path forward for video technology, powering the creation of video content in spaces all around us—from classrooms to meeting spaces and even aboard the International Space Station.
Today, Epiphan has created Epiphan Connect, bridging the gap between video conferencing and live events. It’s a deep integration that unlocks the Microsoft Teams platform, extracting video and audio feeds from Teams meetings and pushing them to live broadcasting tools.
“The beauty of Epiphan Connect is that it integrates with Microsoft Teams, a tool everyone is familiar with and is very much plug-and-play,” said Brody Langley, senior partner development manager at Microsoft. “An executive presenting at a meeting can just step on stage and present their content. There’s no requirement for a technical aptitude in creating a high-fidelity production because all of that is outsourced to Epiphan Connect.”
Even for a tech leader like Microsoft, virtual and hybrid events can be challenging, causing stress for both organizers and participants. For the video producer, they want to focus on the creative quality of the content, and for remote participants, they don’t want to worry about technology when joining an event.
Langley added, “A great way to make engaging content is to elevate the production value of the content you are presenting. With the native capabilities of chat communication within Teams and the high-fidelity content we were able to create with Epiphan Connect, we delivered a dynamic, inclusive experience for all participants.”
A successful hybrid global event could have been achieved with more complex broadcasting technology and traditional production methods involving a crew, scripting, rehearsing, and weeks of post-production. But with Epiphan Connect, Microsoft has been able to eliminate much of this inefficiency and cost.
“Our goal is to remove friction and make it easy on people,” said Nic Milani. “Historically, the broadcast industry has been very expensive with lots of specialized training. Epiphan is creating tools that anybody can use. We can create 100 percent of the quality with 10 percent of the effort.”
Langley points out, audience standards for live content have increased over the past few years. “We consume streaming content from platforms like YouTube and Netflix on a daily basis,” he said. “But when we go into work, that quality is sorely missing.”
“Historically, the broadcast industry has been very expensive with lots of specialized training. Epiphan is creating tools that anybody can use. We can create 100 percent of the quality with 10 percent of the effort.”
There’s also the issue of experiential inequality. Langley continued, “People should be able to expect the same standard of quality if they are participating remotely or in person. With Epiphan Connect and Microsoft Teams, organizations have a tool that makes this seamless and easy.”
This is only the beginning of the very bright future of collaboration platforms being used for video production. We’ve come a long way since an organization's AV and IT departments were separate entities. Tools like Epiphan Connect for Microsoft Teams can bridge the gap between AV and IT, allowing them to work together harmoniously, using existing infrastructure and adding the creative layer of video to the mix.
It seems the days of needing a tech wiz on staff to successfully produce and broadcast townhall meetings or training videos might be over. “We have a powerful communication platform in Teams that companies have heavily invested in, and people are comfortable with using,” said Langley. “Epiphan brings expertise in broadcasting. Together we will continue to unlock new capabilities and create new tools that minimize barriers to entry for great content.”