New Box Skills Uses AI to Extract Key Image, Audio, Video Content

Box kicked off its BoxWorks conference by announcing Box Skills, an, artificial intelligence framework for finding content in audio, video and image files.

Aaron Levie Box

SAN FRANCISCO—Looking to give enterprises and other organizations better access to relatively underutilized content, Box has announced Box Skills.

The initial release of Box Skills covers three areas—image, audio and video. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) company said Box Skills leverages different aspects of machine learning such as computer vision, video indexing and sentiment analysis, to give users more insights to their company’s content.

At BoxWorks 2017, Box showcased new Skill services powered by IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as its Box Skills Kit, a set of developer resources for building custom skills.

“One of the key challenges we are all facing is that there’s a data explosion in the enterprise. And traditionally, the more information you have, the harder it is work with,” said Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box, during a keynote session here on October 11 at the company’s Boxworks conference.

Box Image Intelligence Skill is available in a beta version now, while Audio and Video aren’t expected for release until the first half of 2018.

“The next five years will be completely different in how we interact with content than we did in the past 25 years,” said Patel.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, Box Skills leverage cloud services from partners including IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud and embeds Box content with metadata that makes the data far more accessible than it would be otherwise.

In a demonstration of Box Image Intelligence Skill using the Google Cloud platform, Box showed how a marketer could save time searching through thousands of images to find the right image of a tennis player with a simple keyword search. Image detects individual objects and concepts in image files, captures text through optical character recognition (OCR), and automatically adds keyword labels to images so companies can easily build metadata in their image catalogs.

A Box Video Intelligence Skill demonstration showed the real depth of the product. A search for Box CEO Aaron Levie and the term “artificial intelligence” produced a video of an appearance on the cable show Mad Money with Jim Cramer. A graph to the left of the video clip highlights where either of them specifically used the term “artificial intelligence” letting the user jump right to those sections.

Another demonstration of Box Audio Intelligence showed how a cable company would be able to quickly access audio calls from a call center that include terms like “slow” or “cancel” to identify dissatisfied customers and where service improvements are needed

The service uses IBM speech-to-text transcription to provide a searchable transcript and IBM sentiment analysis to identify emotional responses in the call which actually ends with an angry caller expressing “joy” that he’s been given a free upgrade to make up for lousy service.

Box also previewed another service due out next year called Box Graph that provides a graphical display of content, relationships and activity for individual Box users as well as enterprises.

Feed, the first new service based on Box Graph, is a personalized activity feed that curates and surfaces the most relevant updates, insights and content for each Box user. Box believes that Feed users should be able to see real time updates on content they are collaborating on, such as the most recent edits or comments.

Feed is governed by Box’s built-in permissions, security, and compliance standards to ensure users can only see and interact with the files and content they are allowed to access.

Feed also recommends content based on the user’s activity and network of collaborators. Managers could also use Feed to see what content is trending or most popular within the organization.

Levie said AI technology has been more broadly available in consumer services like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa and the early versions of self-driving cars. “But this is just the start. We think the greatest impact AI will have is when it enters the enterprise,” he said. 

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...