Box powers ahead with new app and services for businesses

Cloud storage company aims to stay competitive in the enterprise market with new products

The enterprise file storage and collaboration market is crowded with companies vying to provide the best place for businesses to store information and employees to work together. Box is looking to punch above its weight in a ring that includes Microsoft and Google, and showed a bulked-up set of new products and services at its BoxWorks conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Box needs more than just the 11 percent of paying customers that it has now, so appealing to enterprises is critical for the new products. They include a new app for the iPhone, and new capabilities that could make the service more attractive to businesses in particular markets. 

Box users now have access to a new Capture app for the iPhone that lets people take photos and share them with other users of the cloud storage solution. It's supposed to help out mobile workers like insurance agents and retail workers who need to communicate with colleagues and need to share image data as part of their work. 

When users take a photo with Capture, it's stored only in the Box cloud by default, which means secure business information won't get stored locally. Users can add comments to a photo before uploading it to a folder in Box, so they can make requests to supervisors or put notes on a photo before making it available for collaboration. All of those notes are attached to the file inside Box's storage system, along with key information like who uploaded the file. 

Box's Platform offering, which the company announced at its developer conference earlier this year, will be entering open beta in October. It's a key part of the company's strategy to compete in a crowded market going forward, since it allows companies to build applications on top of Box's storage platform without exposing that to end users. 

That's a boon to developers who want to build apps for regulated industries like healthcare or banking, since they don't have to build their own storage systems. When a user logs into an app built on top of the Box platform, they get a login experience that doesn't in any way betray the fact that they're logging into a Box experience. 

Users will be able to try out a Developer version of the platform capabilities for free, which supports building an app for 25 users with 50GB of storage and 50GB of bandwidth per month. Companies can purchase an Enterprise plan starting at $500 a month, that supports a base of 100 app users, 250GB of storage and 250GB of bandwidth per month. Developers can pay more for more capacity, too. 

box content experiences Box

An illustration of the new content services Box announced on Sept. 29.

In addition to the new app and platform announcements, Box also announced a set of new content services that will help employees from businesses in a variety of specialized industries securely work together on new kinds of files stored in the company's cloud. The new services support rendering 3D objects in a browser, playing back HD video, and securely accessing medical imagery. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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