Rating: box Gallery feature has hidden benefits
Completely by accident, GoMobile News chanced upon an app store within an app store which could help enterprise iOS users surmount the daunting evaluation and selection process which they currently face. We were chatting with Christopher Yeh, who is vice president for box‘s Platform product. What we were really there to discuss is how box has ended up being at the meeting point of three current trends in mobile: – cloud, BYOD, and native mobile apps. However, whilst demonstrating the product, Yeh showed GoMobile News, the box app’s Gallery facility. In this case, it was running on an Apple iPad tablet – but the same facility applies to other mobile OS version. Using Gallery, you can browse apps which box has selected and then download (and pay for them) via Apple’s iTunes App Store.What is intriguing is that box does actually get a small cut from each transaction which box routes to iTunes. We believe Yeh entirely when he said that the cut is so small, his company won’t make a fortune from it.
The purpose of taking the cut is for tracking. Yeh can see what purchases its customers are making which provides box with valuable insight into user behaviour – most of whom are inside enterprises.
Yeh was anxious to highlight just how ‘mobile’ the box application has become. Alongside the usual suspects are native apps for the likes of RIM’s PlayBook and HP’s webOS-based TouchPad tablet.
The real benefit this brings to box’s enterprise customers is that they can rest assured that whatever platform an employee is using to access box, the data is inherently secure (encrypted).
IT managers faced with the task of implementing a BYOD policy inside their enterprise environment will immediately recognise the advantages so box’ secure cloud content storage offering.
To entice mobile developers to build apps to fit inside the box platform, the company offers a range of both APIs and SDKs for mobile OS.
As Yeh admitted, box cannot rely on serendipity whereby the best developers come direct to its door. Instead it actively seeks out the best apps for a particular mobile platform.
Once the app is discovered, Yeh seeks to persuade the developer to produce a version that will fit inside the box platform.
Yeh revealed that in this process, box inherently discovers the best of breed mobile apps -and those are the ones which appear in the box ‘Gallery’.
As a recognition of how fragmented the mobile app development sector has become, Yeh was somewhat surprised to discover that one of the best iPad apps it now recommends is built by a six person operation in Russia!
Box currently finds that around one quarter of its existing users are already taking advantage of its Gallery feature.
GoMobile News wonders. However, how many other platform providers will spot the opportunity provided by the app store within an app store approach and adopt it too?