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Box uses Google’s AI to support image recognition in the enterprise

Optical character recognition and automated generation of image metadata is now possible, thanks to Google Cloud AI

Box has introduced image recognition powered by Google to its cloud storage service.

When images are uploaded to Box, any objects and handwritten or typed text in images can be automatically detected and indexed as metadata, the company said.

Box has been steadily adding integration to business services such as DocuSign and Salesforce.

Image recognition powered by Google could be the next step in opening up its market to digitisation of paper processes using optical character recognition (OCR), as well as applications in businesses where identification of images needs to be automated.

The company said the image recognition feature is powered by Google Cloud Vision, which uses a machine learning tool to catalogue images into thousands of categories automatically.

Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box, said: “By combining the machine learning capabilities of Google Cloud with the critical data that businesses manage and secure in Box, we are enabling our customers, for the first time, to unlock tremendous new value from their content, digitise manual workflows, and accelerate business processes.”

Box said one of the early adopters, a media company, is using image recognition to automatically tag huge amounts of inbound photos from freelance photographers around the globe. “Previously, there was no way they could tag every single image,” Box said in a blog post. “Now they can automatically analyse more images than ever before, and unlock new ways to use these images in their company.”

Another customer in retail has begun using image recognition to optimise digital asset management of product photos, said Box. “With automatic object detection and metadata labels, they can cut out manual tagging and organisation of critical images that are central to multi-channel processes,” it added.

Box said an estate agent is also using the OCR in its service to digitise workflows for paper-based leases and agreements.

“Box’s application of Google Cloud’s machine learning APIs [application programming interfaces] brings to life the potential of AI [artificial intelligence]in the enterprise,” said Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist at Google Cloud AI and professor of computer science at Stanford University.

“Understanding images remains a challenge for businesses and Box’s application of the Vision API demonstrates how the accessibility of machine learning models can unlock potential within a business’s own data. Ultimately, it will democratise AI for more people and businesses.”

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