Above: Box sign in the company’s Redwood City office. Injecting cloud storage with artificial intelligence is easier said than done.

Even something as simple as optical character recognition can take ages to get up and running, and businesses more often than not end up juggling multiple service providers — each with their own ecosystem, toolset, and idiosyncrasies — to meet the needs of employees and customers. Box aimed to change all that with Box Skills, a suite of apps that add new features and functionality to cloud-hosted files.

A few launched last year as part of a private beta program, including an image-processing Skill that uses Google’s Cloud Image API. Today, ahead of its BoxWorks developer summit in San Francisco, Box unveiled a slew of additions to the library from IBM and Microsoft.

It also announced that the Box Skills beta will expand to more customers in July. (Signups begin today.) Skills remain free for now, but in the future the company plans to charge customers a monthly fee.

“We want what customers put in Box to have infinitely more value in Box than outside of Box,” Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box, told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “When you make available all the advancements that are being made in machine learning, the intelligence that gets added to files improves how people make decisions around content.” IBM’s Box Skills were previewed in a blog post last week and tap IBM’s Watson for machine learning-driven image and document analysis. Read more from venturebeat.com…

thumbnail courtesy of venturebeat.com