Box is rolling out updates to its cloud storage service, making it smarter in hopes to appeal to a more sophisticated – and lucrative – enterprise customer base. Among the announcements at its annual customer conference in San Francisco this week, Box released BoxSkills, a framework to help customers bring more intelligence to their cloud-stored content.
Box said that the Skills framework, which will be in beta in 2018, allows its customers to leverage machine learning “with automatic, intelligent metadata that can trigger workflows, establish retention policies, and apply classification and so much more.”
In a recent earnings call, Box CEO Aaron Levie said that its capabilities in machine learning are critical in separating the company from traditional on-premises content management and storage providers. Machine learning helps drive customer engagement, an important factor as Box tries to expand existing customer deployments.
The three initial skills - Image Intelligence, Audio Intelligence, and Video Intelligence – add context to content uploaded to Box, making it easier for customers to find the files they need. Image Intelligence automatically adds object detection, handwriting and text recognition as metadata and indexed for search. Box is using the Google Cloud Vision API for image recognition.
Audio Intelligence renders a text transcript and detects topics, while Video Intelligence provides transcription, topic detection and facial recognition. Video is one of the fastest growing file types in Box.
ISVs, SIs and enterprise developers can create custom Box Skills with the Box Skills Kit, allowing users to train or group existing skills or develop new capabilities to process content.
Along with Box Skills, Box launched Box Graph, its machine learning model that learns how people and content interact, which is used to “power predictive, personalized and contextualized experiences across Box.”
Box Feed is the first feature of this model, which is essentially a personalized activity feed for each Box user that curates relevant content.
Also this week, Box said that Box using Azure will be generally available on Nov. 1, delivering Box Cloud Content Management using Microsoft Azure storage services. Box using Azure allows users to manage content for SaaS apps including Office 365, and leverage Azure’s global footprint to meet data sovereignty requirements.
“Box Skills brings together Box’s cloud content management and Microsoft Azure’s industry leading AI services to deliver intelligent insights for customers,” Scott Guthrie, EVP of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise division said in a statement. “We’re excited to see how the general availability of Box using Azure, that starts November 1st, will help benefit customers in their digital transformation journey.”
Box announced in Q2 that it will use Azure as a strategic public cloud platform and Microsoft sales reps will co-sell and be compensated for selling Box offerings that use Azure.
In November, Box Relay – Box’s workflow tool that was co-developed with IBM - will be generally available. It allows users to build their own workflows, add external users, and provides real-time visibility into workflow completion.