Box unveils framework for applying machine learning to content, Box Skills

Box unveiled a set of new tools today that are created to make it easier for companies to derive insights from the files they have stored with the cloud content management company.

The San Francisco-based company today previewed three skills that are still in development.

Secondly, Video Intelligence uses Microsoft's Cognitive Services to provide transcription, topic and people detection, so users can quickly access the information needed in a video.

The audio intelligence skill uses audio files to create and index a text transcript that can be easily searched and manipulated.

Finally, Box also announced Image Intelligence, which uses Google Cloud to detect objects and concepts in images, capturing text using optical character recognition (OCR) and automatically adding labels to images to build metadata on image catalogues. For instance, one skill could combine Watson's speech-to-text and natural language understanding services on IBM's cloud to analyze customer service calls, determining which were angry or satisfied to provide better call-center training.

On top of the Skills news, Box also announced a new Graph feature that takes the signals from use of its service to surface the right content at the right time for customers.

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

In a keynote pointed by poignant references to recent events including hurricanes and the firestorms now raging North of San Francisco, boss Aaron Levie announced the launch of Box Skills, a framework of machine learning based tools created to work with any neural network, be it IBM Watson or Google Deepmind.

There's also a skill for helping Box recognise pictures of a company's own products. "This will allow them to stay 'AI-neutral'". That's a pitch Box needs to resonate with more customers, since it faces rampant competition from Dropbox Inc., Google Inc. and many others that offer cheap file storage.

Artificial Intelligence, the new Swiss Army knife of the tech world, is now being added to the Box platform for content collaboration.

The ultimate goal for Box, said Fan, is to persuade customers that "as you put content into Box, you can get more value out of it than you can anywhere else". And in January, it revamped its three-year-old Notes real-time document creation and sharing tool.

A Box Video Intelligence Skill demonstration showed the real depth of the product. "For example, instead of just storing audio files, now customer support people can have conservations around the areas where the sentiment in the calls was negative".

Box Image Intelligence Skill is available in a beta version now, while Audio and Video aren't expected for release until the first half of 2018.

Box hasn't provided any pricing information for Box Skills.

In a demonstration of Box Image Intelligence Skill using the Google Cloud platform, Box showed how a marketer could save time searching through thousands of images to find the right image of a tennis player with a simple keyword search.

Box Graph is another addition to the company's portfolio that uses machine learning to build an intelligent network of content, relationships, and activities that the company says it will use to "power new experiences and services for both individual Box users and enterprises".

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