UPDATED 11:00 EST / NOVEMBER 01 2023


Box announces Vertex-powered generative AI tools to process and analyze documents faster

Cloud content management platform Box Inc. said today it will integrate with Google Cloud’s Vertex AI platform to enable enterprises to build generative artificial intelligence features that can help users more easily process and analyze data stored within Box Content Cloud.

The integration with Vertex AI was announced as Box said it will expand its use Google Cloud’s infrastructure platform and integrate its content management system with Google Workspace.

Generative AI has become all the rage ever since OpenAI LP’s chatbot ChatGPT took the internet by storm thanks to its ability to answer questions and generate content in a humanlike way. Since then, technology providers have been racing to integrate its capabilities into various enterprise tools, and Box is no exception.

The company said today that one of the most promising use cases for generative AI is organizing data. To help enterprises do this, it’s using Vertex AI as the core technology behind a new metadata extraction feature. With this new feature, Box says, customers will be able to process and analyze data faster, create more personalized experiences, enable intelligent search and more.

The metadata extraction feature will be available via an application programming interface first of all and will come to Box Enterprise Plus plan users in beta test mode next year. In a nutshell, it provides a way for customers to understand their key data within Box more easily without digging through it manually. For instance, users will be able automatically to classify and label documents at large scale in order to dig up key insights, such as which contracts are close to expiration or which invoices must be paid by the end of the month.

Users will also be able to define metadata templates in order to extract information for custom use cases, such as recognizing and tagging products in images or categorizing personally identifiable information within documents. These templates could also be integrated with enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems to help automate workflows such as client and employee onboarding, invoicing and contract execution, Box said. Other applications include identifying key information such as timestamps and authorship to maintain compliance, and recognizing metadata in different languages.

Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian said generative AI has the potential to streamline time-consuming tasks around manual data entry and analysis. The integration of Box with Vertex AI will enable generative AI to fulfill that potential. “Our expanded partnership with Box will provide customers with new tools that help them quickly process and create insights from documents stored within Box Content Cloud, saving time that users can reallocate towards more impactful work,” he said in prepared remarks.

Box becomes best buddies with Google Cloud

The integration with Vertex AI appears to have given Box an opportunity to increase its collaboration with Google Cloud, and it has grabbed that chance with both hands. Although users will have to wait for the new metadata extraction features, every customer will be able to benefit from Box’s closer integration with Google Workspace, which is Google Cloud’s suite of collaboration and productivity software.

For instance, Box users can now create, open and edit content using Google Workspace’s collaboration tools from directly within Box Content Cloud. They can also add Box files directly to emails within Gmail, include Box files and Box Notes on Google Calendar events, save files in Google Drive to Box and apply Box’s security, compliance and governance tools to content within Google Workspace, such as Docs, Sheets and Slides.

The Box Content Cloud application has also been added to Google Cloud Marketplace. The advantage is that enterprises can simplify the procurement process and consolidate the subscription fees within their Google Cloud billing. Box also promised cost savings for Google Cloud customers through existing commitments.

Box also is expanding its use of Google Cloud’s data storage infrastructure and leveraging key tools and services for networking, data analytics and machine learning. For instance, it’s adding Google Cloud as a new storage option within Box KeySafe, which is a service that allows customers to retain their own encryption key for sensitive data held within Box. The company will also adopt Google Cloud Bigtable to manage the performance and uptime for its core data systems, and Google Cloud BigQuery to provide customers with more comprehensive, data-driven insights on their Box environments.

Lastly, Box said it will adopt Google Cloud’s global infrastructure as the backbone of its network communications to ensure rapid content transfers for all users, regardless of where their data is located.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said there are a number of good reasons for Box to partner with Google Cloud on generative AI, most notably the fact that the latter is streets ahead of the competition in terms of putting algorithms onto custom silicon to ensure they run as efficiently as possible. “Google Cloud is probably two-to-three years ahead of anyone else in that respect, so it’s a great choice for Box,” Mueller explained. “Meanwhile, Google Workspace is being more tightly integrated with Box, whose platform can now be bought with Google Cloud credits on the marketplace. This is all great news for companies using Box to increase their productivity and achieve enterprise acceleration.”

Image: Box

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