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Box unveiled a set of new tools today that are designed to make it easier for companies to derive insights from the files they have stored with the cloud content management company. Called Box Skills, the features let customers use the power of machine learning to do things like automatically parse images, video, and audio data using machine learning.

Customers can start using Skills through a selection of first-party features provided by Box and a set of tech companies. Those include audio transcription that uses IBM’s Watson APIs, video analysis with Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, and Box’s already-announced image processing capabilities that use Google’s Cloud Image API.

In addition, Box is launching a Skills Kit API that will let customers and other third parties connect other systems to content stored in Box for analysis. That way, businesses can develop custom tools for analyzing data that’s specific to their work. For example, Ephesoft can extract information from documents like legal contracts and save that as metadata inside Box.

It’s a move by the company to capitalize on the wave of investment in machine learning and provide its customers with additional value for their Box subscription. This comes at a time when Box is competing against a whole host of other major tech companies to be the home for cloud content storage and management for enterprises.


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The combination of off-the-shelf machine learning capabilities and the ability to build custom functionality will help companies quickly get started using AI to help their business, while being able to work on crafting the sorts of features only they need.

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 company is using it to power a news feed feature that’s supposed to help customers know which files need their attention, what’s popular among their network at work, and more.

Box’s security and permission model underpins the Graph, so people will only be able to see the content that they have access to.

In addition, Box also launched new iterations of its file management capabilities, including enhanced comments and visual version histories that will let users see how updates impacted a piece of work. A new presence feature will let customers see who’s viewing a file, and customers will also be able to save shortcuts to files and folders they use frequently in Box’s web interface.

Update 10:00 a.m. Pacific: This story has been updated to include details on Box’s file interface.

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