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Boxworks 2017: Box Adds ‘Skills’ Machine Learning Tools To Cloud Platform

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Box details first machine learning tools powered by IBM Watson, Azure and GCP at Boxworks 2017, alongside Box Skills tool kits for custom processes

Box is adding machine learning tools to its cloud content platform alongside a developer toolkit so organisations can create their own custom AI processes. 

It is intended that ‘Box Skills’ will help customers extract additional insights from content stored in Box by performing tasks that were previously too expensive or impractical to digitise and automate. 

The company detailed the first AI tool – image recognition powered by Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – in August and two more – audio intelligence powered by IBM Watson and video intelligence powered by Microsoft Azure – were shown off at the annual Boxworks conference in San Francisco. 

Box Boxworks 2014 (3)

 

Box Skills 

Audio intelligence scans files to create and index a text transcript, while video intelligence does the same but also detects people and topics. Image intelligence can detect concepts, objects and people and adds keyword labels to extract metadata. 

“We are in the midst of a revolution in enterprise software driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning, and we are making Box the most intelligent cloud content management platform in the world,” said Aaron Levie, said Box CEO. 

“As businesses continue to drive digital transformation, they need to realize more value and intelligence from their content. Box Skills is a first-of-its-kind framework that will make it possible to digitise almost any business process on Box.” 

The Box Skills Kit lets developers create their own machine learning tools or to chain together multiple skills into a single process.  

For example ,they could automatically detect a legal contract and extract the data into a loan application or teach an AI to learn more about a company’s products by looking at images stored in Box. 

Box Graph

AI also powers Box Graph, which learns about content, activity and relationships within a customer’s environment. These insights can then be used to create new services which are governed by pre-existing policies, security and compliance. 

The first Box Graph-powered app is Feed, which will give users a personalised stream of information about content stored in Box depending on these pre-set parameters and previous interactions. 

“The power of cloud content management is that you have one, centralized and secure place for all your business content in the cloud – no data siloes, no fragmented systems, no shadow IT,” added Jeetu Patel, Box Chief Product Officer. 

“Box Skills and Box Graph represent a truly practical application of intelligence for the enterprise, ensuring our customers can realize incredible value from every piece of content they have in Box.” 

Adding context 

Aside from image intelligence, which is already available, the other tools are currently in development and will be launched as betas next year. 

Box first introduced the ability to add contextual information to files in 2013 with the launch of metadata and has added numerous imaging features since then. It has also been vocal about how AI can benefit its platform.  

When Silicon asked Levie about AI features back in April, Levie said that imaging was a priority and confirmed Box had a dedicated team working on machine learning capabilities.  

“We can help customers understand what they have and then [provide intelligence],” he said. “We’re thinking of Google Photos-style search in the enterprise.”  

Box’s head of EMEA David Benjamin also expressed his belief that AI could help with data retention policies ahead of the arrival of GDPR in 2018.  

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