Archive360 enhances SharePoint Online, announces support for new Microsoft services

Archive360 supports Azure Archival, the Azure alternative to AWS Glacier, as well as Microsoft Azure Cognitive & Media Services, which allows accurate transcription of audio and video files in real time.

Archive2Azure Cognitive & Media Services video transcription

Microsoft-focused archive migration software provider Archive360 is making multiple announcements of significance today at the Microsoft Ignite event in Orlando. Their new version of FastCollect for SharePoint adds automation features for SharePoint Online to move its data to less expensive Azure cloud storage tiers. They also announced support for one of those newly announced tiers, Azure Archival, which Microsoft is also releasing today, as well as support for another new offering, Microsoft Azure Cognitive & Media Services.

“I think the most exciting part of the announcement is the support for Azure Cognitive and Media Services,” said Tibi Popp, Archive360’s CTO.   Archive2Azure Cognitive & Media Services is designed to fully index audio and video files by spoken word, leveraging machine learning capabilities to produce a complete transcription of the speech, with much higher degrees of accuracy than in the past.

“What this is achieving is coming out of the standard archiving paradigm, and going into an intelligent archive,” Popp said. “It’s not just about text data, but going after the rest, like voice mail and videos, and building an archive that supports everything, and makes it available for analytics.” Today, Azure Cognitive and Media Services can translate content in real time into 53 languages.

This type of technology isn’t new. HP paid a fortune to acquire Autonomy, and then were never able to develop its potential before including it in their spinoff of software assets a month ago.

“The audio and video capabilities were not yet fully developed when Autonomy came out,” Popp said. “Since then, the heavy hitters, like IBM and Google, have gotten into it, and the technology has come of age. Video indexing of things like training videos, police body cam videos can transcribe the data in real time, and allow searching by the transcript.

“You now have 95 per cent correct translation and transcription of video and voice mail,” Popp said. “We cannot come in today with 100 per cent yet, but it’s getting close. It’s extremely usable. Instead of hiding the accuracy rate, we actually expose it. It’s an ongoing process, and no one has it as a consolidated archive.” In the near future, the technology will also perform image tracking, facial recognition and emotion from video files as well.

OCR [optical character recognition] and handwriting recognition have improved a lot, which is especially valuable in eDiscovery.

“This includes both printed and handwritten data, because in some areas like insurance, a lot of stuff is handwritten,” Popp said. “Handwriting is still in the 80 plus accuracy range. It’s not yet over 90 per cent.”

Archive360 is also announcing that their Archive2Azure solution for unstructured data supports Microsoft’s just-launched Azure Archival storage tier, which joins the Azure Hot and Cool storage tiers.

“Azure Archival will compete with AWS Glacier, and really fits into our story,” said Bob DeSteno, Archive360’s CEO. “It is for maintaining records that are infrequently accessed, but which still need to be kept around.”

DeSteno said that Archive360 had worked jointly with the Microsoft product team to develop the new Archival tier and ensure Archive2Azure has native support for it.

“This is lining up with what the market wants,” he said. “It’s WORM capable, and also supports the new Azure Cognitive and Media Services.”

The other part of the Archive360 announcements, the latest generation of FastCollect for SharePoint, is intimately related to the first two. FastCollect now includes new features to analyze and report on SharePoint file consumption and to extend SharePoint Online to the more affordable Azure cloud storage tiers. The latter can result in a potential storage savings of up to 90 per cent.

“Archive360 started out with the low hanging fruit – email archives – then went after cloud servers with Azure,” Popp said. “Now we have been getting calls to extend SharePoint Online, because customers have problems dealing with its growth. So now you can go into SharePoint Online, and get a report by file volume, age and size. They can them put them into Archive2Azure, with full self-service for end users, and which for legal purposes, maintains a whole chain of custody.” In Q1 2018, customers will also be able to do the same thing in SharePoint on-prem, Popp added.

“All of these initiatives leverage Microsoft to execute these searches and transcribing,” Popp concluded. “We don’t have the R&D to compete with the big hyperscale guys. So we take advantage of what Microsoft does. We are among the first that are doing this kind of intelligent archiving.”