Box CEO points toward 'next phase' of cloud adoption at BoxWorks 2013

Mobile has been the single biggest driver of "information velocity," which Box's CEO defined as the speed by which we can share and also be entertained.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- The attendance and scale of Box's annual summit showcasing its enterprise storage and sharing platform has grown exponentially over the last three years -- arguably reflecting the growth in cloud adoption simultaneously.

Holding court in front of a packed ballroom of hundreds of keynote attendees on Monday morning, CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie theorized that the cloud market is about to make a major pivot.

The move to the cloud was initially motivated by cost, efficiency, and simplicity, as Levie outlined, recapping that the "first phase" was about accepting as well as upgrading the technology.

The next phase, he continued, is about getting the most of out of our information.

"That idea is summed up by connecting the right information with the right people at the right time," Levie posited.

Mobile, Levie pinpointed, has been the single biggest driver of "information velocity" for individuals -- or the speed by which we can share and also be entertained.

This trend has been underscored by changes in the wider technology industry, Levie lectured, quipping as if on cue to a ringing cell phone in the audience about the ubiquity of tablets and smartphones according to recent IDC forecasts.

"Information sits at the center of your business," Levie remarked, suggesting that when you think of role of IT in business, it's to capture that kind of value.

Just as a quick snapshot, Levie cited a forecast that there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015.

That's not only driving the productivity, Levie suggested, but also this increase in information velocity for moving the right information to the right people.

"Information sits at the center of your business," Levie remarked, suggesting that when you think of role of IT in business, it's to capture that kind of value.

Box making its attempt to jump on these shifts with the following product announcements unveiled on Monday morning:

  • New Box preview experience: Building on recent Crocodoc acquisition, Box is integrating the technology to "reimagine" what you can do with content in the cloud. The preview experience for the HTML5 embedding software has been redesigned with a new UI and toolbar. No plug-ins to load. Features include the ability to pan and zoom in on images, copy and paste text, a filmstrip view, and support previewing for "hundreds" of file types. It will roll out later this year.
  • iOS app upgrade: Box's mobile apps have been downloaded eight million times and counting, so it's no joke when Levie touted Box as a mobile-focused company. Updates and additions include in-document search, new viewing interfaces for slide presentations and PDFs along with more swipe features for sharing, renaming, enabling offline access to, and deleting files. Also rolling out "later this year."
  • Box Notes: Already introduced earlier today, the new, "informal" word processing cloud app supports simultaneous work and annotation among colleagues in real-time.
  • Box Platform: Chris Yeh, senior vice president of product at Box, described the Box Platform as a "set of services driven around content in Box," and those services are used to build mobile apps, APIs, and support for the third-party app ecosystem. The Box OneCloud app ecosystem has grown to host more than 700 entries, including apps made by Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Oracle, among others. To add more value to the content stored on this cloud-based platform, Box is adding metadata to these files for the first time. Being HIPAA compliant and using an x-ray image as an example, pieces of information that could be tagged to a file include patient name, ID, diagnosis, and primary care physician. Or in the case of insurance companies, relevant metadata could be claim and policy numbers, drivers license, and vehicle model. Users will also be able to tag different content fields (i.e. images, text, etc.) to link to other files stored on Box. Will be available" early next year."

As one more example of Box's app ecosystem strategy, Cisco's senior vice president of collaboration, Rowan Trollope, announced on the keynote stage that WebEx for iPad is getting native Box integration this October so that users can take Box-stored content and share it directly in WebEx.

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