Box Allows HTML 5 Content Embedding – Will Vendors Soon Compete Inside Each Other’s Own Applications?

Box demonstrated a technology yesterday at their ‘BoxWorks’ convention called Box Embed.  In essence, it allows the user to take an item of Box content and all their collaboration facilities (such as tagging, comments etc) and embed it into another web application – in a similar fashion to YouTube video embedding:

Box Embed is a new HTML5-based framework available today that makes it easy to embed the entire Box experience anywhere people work. Just grab a quick embed code from the sharing options to the right of any file or folder on Box, add to your website, forum or blog, and voila! – instant access to all the Box features you love, like uploads, search, comments, sharing, tagging coworkers and Box Edit for quick file edits. It even uses shared link permissions, so you can add or restrict collaborators on your content directly within Box Embed (plus rest easy knowing your files are safe).” [Read More]

According to Box, they have the support of a number of other more enterprise oriented vendors, including Concur, Cornerstone OnDemand, DocuSign, Eloqua, FuzeBox, Jive, NetSuite, Oracle, SugarCRM and Zendesk.

Some weeks ago we were talking about what might be a Facebook for marketers type of application platform that can extend itself virally across multiple host applications – and I would have to conclude that this does look a lot like it.  There are definite limitations, for example, most corporate end users still run browsers that won’t handle HTML 5.  Despite all the BYOD hype about how companies are soon going to be able to ‘externalise’ the cost of providing a PC for everyone by requiring staff to buy a ‘work tablet’ (as though it were the tech equivalent of a pair of work shoes), in the larger organisations I deal with, the majority of regular employees still have a ubiquitous crappy 5 year old corporate issue Dell or HP workstation running IE6-8 on Windows XP and they won’t get too far with this feature right now.  However, momentum is on the side of Box over this one and eventually the corporate tech refresh programmes will catch up and make this kind of option feasible for many users.

In the past, some people in the DAM/ECM market have been less than complimentary about Box and their perceived ‘seriousness’ as a vendor.  The amount of investment cash they now have at their disposal and rapidly accumulating user base already presents a credible threat to more monolithic enterprise vendors.  With features like Box Embed, they could start appearing directly on competitors doorsteps – having been introduced by their own end users, themselves.  Of course, there is the potential for some vendors to try to ban Box Embed, just like Apple did with Flash, but that pre-supposes they also have the same clout and quasi-evangelical grip on their end users.  With the best marketing will in the world, for DAM and ECM applications, I can’t see it somehow.

The logical conclusion if Box Embed apps do take hold across numerous other host applications is that some newer or less heavily committed tool vendors will want to leverage the potential for customer acquisition afforded by Box’s market penetration and will drop their own nascent back-end infrastructure (whether real or virtual) and fall in with Box instead.  If you were wondering how, exactly, this fragmentation of the DAM market which we have mentioned on DAM News (and elsewhere) before might occur, this is just one example that we hope illustrates our point.

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