Box founder and CEO Aaron Levie kicked off the BoxWorks 2014 conference in San Francisco today by naming and elaborating on an ambitious diversification plan for Box, which the company is calling Box for Industry.
Box for Industry - which builds on the company's strategy to take Box far beyond a sharing and storage platform - aims to provide specific vertical industry sector functionalities.
Working around a central technology called Box Workflow, Levie targeted the announcement at three specific industry sectors, announcing services named Box for Healthcare, Box for Retail, and Box for Media & Entertainment.
Box Workflow contains new metadata and automation processes, as well as maintaining an open structure to allow third-party integration via API sets. Bespoke features are vertical-focused, such as HIPAA compliance in Box for Healthcare.
Levie was quick to promise the press that other sectors - including education - would be targeted in "similar strategic announcements in other verticals" down the line, and that sectors that didn't fit into specific verticals wouldn't be disadvantaged, saying: "The core will not lose out to the vertical".
"The biggest difference is, we've always been focused on being a platform," said Levie. "The need for third-party service providers, applications and ecosystem is sort of ingrained in us.
"Our job is to build a platform that can be tailored at the feature level or at the platform level to different verticals - not to build-in vertical technology directly into the platform."
Levie said his aim in announcing Box for Industry was to "get across that things like file sharing and file storage are purely the backbone of what we do".
"We obviously can't help people take advantage of their information if we don't do really great file storage and sharing, but that's not the reason people purchase our product. The reason people puchase it at Stanford is they want to change the delivery of healthcare. If you're Jeffrey Katzenberg [CEO of Dreamworks, who was featured in the keynote] it's because you want to improve the productivity of the creative process."
Levie said he believed Box's "ingrained horizontal" approach presents unique advantages as it allows Box to infiltrate new and untapped industries, such as its partnership with drone firm Skycatch. "There aren't a lot of players doing this," he said.
"[Box for Industry will] help to create a bunch of new markets," Levie continued.
"There will be vertical players we want to try and integrate with. But this is about helping customers use their information, rather than being a horizontal sharing company."