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Box’s First AI Feature Is Cloud Image Recognition

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 will automatically detect images for objects and information to add contextual data and start workflows automatically

Box is adding artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to its cloud content management platform for the first time, integrating Google Cloud Vision photo recognition technology to automatically detect information from uploaded images. 

The company says images are the fastest growing type of content added to its platform but until now it has been impossible to gather information from them, reducing their immediate usefulness and requiring manual input. 

Using the machine learning capabilities, Box can learn types of objects and concepts and can also capture text and add keyword labels, allowing images to be catalogued and to immediately start a certain workflow. 

Box World Tour 2017-1

Box AI 

For example, scanning a driver’s licence for a new employee could automatically start a criminal record check, or uploaded a certain type of image might add it to a certain catalogue. Information from a whiteboard image could be automatically collected, speeding up an office project. 

“Organizations today have no way to extract insights from the massive amounts of unstructured data that are essential to their business, missing a huge opportunity to drive innovation, efficiency, and cost savings,” said Aaron Levie, Box CEO. 

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“By combining the machine learning capabilities of Google Cloud with the critical data businesses manage and secure in Box, we are enabling our customers – for the first time – to unlock tremendous new value from their content, digitize manual workflows, and accelerate business processes.” 

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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