Box and Microsoft expand partnership with look at machine learning


Box and Microsoft have announced an expansion to their partnership – with machine learning as part of the potential benefits.

The two companies will align on sales efforts – co-selling Box with Azure, for instance – with the former using the latter as a ‘strategic public cloud platform’.

Yet it is the machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) aspect which leapt out most. The references in the press materials were all shrouded in modal verbs like ‘might’ and ‘could’, but video indexing – using natural language processing to generate metadata and power advanced search – was referenced.

“From leveraging Azure’s footprint of 40 data centres worldwide to help customers keep their data stored in-region, to taking advantage of Azure’s AI technologies – like video recognition – we’re incredibly thrilled to be exploring other innovations for customers,” wrote Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, in a company blog post. “We’ll be working with Microsoft to jointly deliver these solutions, and more, to customers over the coming quarters.”

The initial reference was to Box Zones, a product launched last year which enables in-region data storage, which is currently available in eight countries. Yet as the release puts it, “over time Box intends to leverage Azure’s global footprint to expand Box Zones coverage to many more regions while also giving customers choice and flexibility in local storage options.”

Earlier this month, Box launched Box Drive, which aims to combine “infinite access to the cloud with an intuitive, natively integrated desktop experience that is familiar to hundreds of millions of people today in enterprises all over the world.”