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Box expands AI capabilities

The Box Skills Kit will be generally available later this year, while Box Skills now supports customer-trained AI models.

At its annual BoxWorks conference on Wednesday, Box announced how it's building up its AI capabilities via the Box Skills framework.

The Box Skills framework, rolled out earlier this year, leverages machine learning capabilities from major cloud service providers like IBM and Google to glean insight from data stored in Box. Along with offering three specific skills -- audio intelligence, video intelligence and image intelligence -- Box introduced a Skills Kit that enables companies and third-party developers to build their own custom skills. The Skills Kit will be generally available in December 2018, the company announced.

The Skills Kit helps developers make use of AI services from most third-party providers, but some use cases may require AI capabilities that can't be found in pre-trained AI services. For customers with those use cases, the Box Skills framework now supports custom-trained AI models. So, for instance, a company could use Google Cloud AutoML to train a custom AI model that recognizes specific brands.

Box on Wednesday also announced updates to its task and automation capabilities, enabling users to create simple triggers for recurring actions.

Box, which reported record revenues in its Q2 fiscal 2019 financial report on Tuesday, has yet to turn a profit as it invests in key areas like AI, security and compliance. The company's research and development expenses in Q2 came to $30.4 million, or 20 percent of revenue, with the continued development of Box Skills and other key capabilities.

CFO Dylan Smith said in a conference call Tuesday that the company is committed to delivering its first quarter of non-GAAP profitability in Q4 fiscal 2019.

In a statement, Box Chief Product Officer Jeetu Patel stressed that Box sees its investments as transformative.

"There will be more change in enterprise content management in the next five years than we've seen in the last twenty years combined," he said, "and by bringing intelligence and simple, but powerful automation to cloud content management, Box will help our customers become more data-driven, responsive and agile."

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