Box held its annual BoxWorks customer conference in San Francisco this week, and they let it be known that they want to build seamless connections across cloud products, whether those products are from Box or another company, and even embed Box services on the backend of completely unrelated products if need be.That kind of connectivity across systems is one of the unique characteristics of the cloud and what has separated it from the types of computing that came before it.
For Box, that means everything they are announcing this week is what they call cloud native. For example, the company announced a 3D viewer for viewing 3D drawings inside Box that is written in pure HTML5 and doesn't require any additional code or plug-ins to make it work.
Box is also working with a slew of big-name partners like IBM, Microsoft, and Apple. Tim Cook appeared on stage with Box CEO Aaron Levie as part of the keynote yesterday, as did less high profile representatives of the other companies.
When Box demoed the integration with Microsoft Office 365, it showed just how smoothly this blending could work. In the case of Office 365, you can save a Word document in Box. It inherits all the rights of the folder where it is stored, and when you open it from within Box, it opens in Office 365 ready to edit. When you're done, it returns to the folder with the edits.
This allows employees to work across popular cloud products without thinking about it. There are no separate applications to open or sign into. There is no additional software to install, and it provides the framework to collaborate around the document.
The same holds true for other software where Box handles all of the content management tasks, whether that's PlanGrid for construction documents like architectural drawings and blueprints, DocuSign for digital signatures, or Adobe Creative Cloud for creative files generated using Adobe software .
Building on the Box Platform
Companies that are building their own applications can take advantage of all of the services developed by Box inside custom applications. That means a company could use content services, security, or the 3D viewer inside of an application without actually using Box at all.
While Box has had open APIs for years, this new program is really designed to take it to another level and to provide developers with a set of content services built by Box. It's not just building a related product on top of Box as was often the case in the past. It's using Box content services on the back end in the same way you might use Stripe for payments or ESRI for maps.
All of this is designed to create a seamless cloud experience from inside or outside Box using a popular set of business tools. At its best, this will allow you to shift between cloud products and services without having to explicitly open and move to them — and that begins to break down the walls between products to create a more integrated experience.