Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Box and Cisco team up on enterprise communication


Cisco and Box unveiled "Project Squared" on Monday. The new business collaboration app combines chat, audio, video, multi-party meetings and content sharing.

The app, revealed at Cisco's "Collaboration Summit" in Los Angeles, is built on Cisco's "Collaboration Cloud" platform. It allows workers to stay connected and up-to-speed on projects wherever they are. It's designed to enable sharing and cloud storage without violating corporate security requirements, as Cisco's Collaboration Cloud has end-to-end content encryption.

The app will be immediately available for Apple iPhone and iPads as well as Android devices, Mac desktops, and through a browser version.

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And while TelePresence is confined to being used in-house, these tools are designed to be used on the go, bringing Cisco's tools to many more users and many more locations.

This partnership puts start-up box and its tools in the spotlight—users can access content from their box folder in virtually any device, and can view that content alongside messages in the virtual "Project Squared Room" without having to download anything.

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How big could this be for Cisco? Collaboration represents more than $4 billion in business for Cisco, and this represents a major shift to mobile—Project Squared is its first mobile-first product. And for the first time, Cisco is offering a new product when it's still in a "project phase"—the company plans to make tweaks based on user feedback.

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This partnership is a win for Box, which filed the preliminary papers to go public in March, helping it bolster its financial health before it hits the public markets.

Box has raised $564 million from a range of big name venture funds, including Andreessen Horowitz along with cloud giant Salesforce, and Mark Cuban.

When Box revealed financial statistics, investors raised concerns about its spending rate on sales and marketing. More revenue through this Cisco deal could certainly assuage some of those concerns, especially as Microsoft competes with Box with its "OneDrive for Business" file storage service, and Amazon with its similar Zocalo service.