Businesses today manage ever-growing volumes of business content. New ways of working, a proliferation of applications and devices, and new types of business processes have resulted in more content, in more formats, than ever before. In order to make sense of this information, businesses are forced to invest in expensive and manual processes for tagging, organizing and deriving value from their content - if it even happens at all.
That's why at BoxWorks 2017, we introduced Box Skills - a new way for businesses to organize, protect and automate processes around their business content at scale through the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Box Skills leverages machine learning technologies from providers like IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud to enhance content in Box with rich context and structure, like labeling objects in an image.
Today, we're excited to announce a few updates to Box Skills, including an expansion to our private beta program, new services from IBM Watson to build custom skills, and support for new machine learning capabilities from Microsoft Azure.
Expanding the private beta for Box Skills
As part of our announcement at BoxWorks 2017, we previewed three initial skills from Box that leverage machine learning technologies from our partners to help our customers add structure and better-understand their content. The three initial skills include:
- Image Intelligence: detects individual objects and concepts and recognizes text in image files.
- Audio Intelligence: transcribes and identifies key topics in spoken audio files.
- Video Intelligence: transcribes and identifies key topics for speech and detects individual faces as they appear in video files.
We also introduced the Box Skills Kit, a developer toolkit to create custom skills that allow customers to apply machine learning in unique ways.
Over the past few months, we've been working with an initial set of customers, including Virgin Trains, Ancestry.com, University of Chicago, City of San Jose and many others, in a private beta program. Our private beta participants are using Box Skills for a wide variety of enterprise use cases and digital business processes. For example, a retail company is using our Image Intelligence skill to tag and organize large volumes of images to drive marketing campaigns, a city council is using our Video Intelligence skill to transcribe council meetings and highlight speakers and key topics of discussion to share with constituents, and a large insurance company is building a custom skill to automatically label household objects in images and videos as part of a digital homeowner’s insurance policy process.
"At Virgin Trains, we're constantly looking for new ways to become a more digital business by accelerating processes and improving our employee and customer experiences," said John Sullivan, CIO and Project Director at Virgin Trains. "With Box Skills, we can easily bring the best of artificial intelligence and machine learning to the way our organization works every day, helping us streamline collaboration and digitize business processes faster than we were able to before. We're incredibly excited about the possibilities of Box Skills."
But that was just the beginning. Today, we're announcing an expansion to our private beta. Starting at the end of July, we'll be onboarding several customers each week to our private beta. If you are interested in participating in the private beta, you can join the waitlist here. If you have already signed up for the private beta, stay tuned for more information!
Enriching content in Box with custom skills from IBM Watson
Last week, we announced the availability of a new service offering from IBM to build custom Box Skills that apply Watson AI technologies to the Box Skills framework. These new, customizable solutions, built using the Box Skills Kit, will enable businesses to work hands-on with the IBM team to apply IBM’s enterprise-strength Watson AI technologies to enterprise content managed in Box.
IBM introduced two new services for building custom Box Skills:
- Custom image insights with Watson Visual Recognition: This custom solution analyzes image data, enriching it with classifiers to make it easy to search and consume, and training custom visual models that best address business needs. For example, an environmental organization could leverage a custom skill that can analyze satellite images of coastal erosion in Box, quickly detecting areas of most impact, speeding up the time to taking action and reducing the costs of monitoring.
- Custom document insights with Watson Natural Language Understanding: This custom skill automatically tags documents stored in Box with relevant concepts, entities, and keywords to enrich the content and make it more searchable and to help users quickly access specific information in dense documents like research papers, service manuals and legal documents. For lawyers working on time-sensitive matters, this could be the difference between making a court filing deadline and needing to file for a costly extension.
For more information, or to learn about how you can work with IBM to build custom skills, you can attend their upcoming webinar on July 10, 2018 at 9am PT/12pm ET. You can register here.
Support for the Latest Azure Cognitive Services from Microsoft
Designed as an open and flexible framework, the capabilities of Box Skills will grow and evolve as new and expanded machine learning services are made available from providers around the industry. To that end, we're also announcing today support for new AI machine learning services available from Microsoft Azure that were announced as part of Microsoft Build 2018, Microsoft's annual developer conference, including:
- Improved OCR in Computer Vision: Using the improved OCR engine now available through Azure Computer Vision, part of Azure Cognitive Services, any image-based Box Skills will now be able to better-detect text within images, improving accuracy and speed of image-based workflows, such as digital asset management.
- Expanded object detection in Computer Vision: Computer Vision is now able to detect dozens of more objects in images, making it easier to apply rich metadata to images in Box. Now, when images are uploaded to Box and any image-based skill, including the foundational Image Intelligence skill, is applied, Computer Vision will return even richer results to apply to the file in Box.
- New speech services for audio analysis: Microsoft Azure announced several speech-related technologies such as the ability to define a set of vocabulary to recognize things like industry-specific terms. Any audio-based Box Skills will be able to leverage these capabilities to perform deep analysis of audio files in Box.
Also, come experience the future of work at BoxWorks 2018, Box’s annual user conference happening August 29-30th at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Whether you're building a digital workplace, creating workflows for your digital business or securing your organization's data, don’t miss this opportunity to become a leader in digital transformation. To meet the people and technology behind the modern cloud stack and hear from groundbreaking companies like Netflix, NASA, Morgan Stanley, Slack and Microsoft, register here.