Box AI becomes free to Enterprise Plus subscribers

Box previews new features to come later this year -- including a revamped metadata API -- while dropping generative AI query fees for its highest tier of premium subscribers.

Box Enterprise Plus users no longer have to worry about surprise bills while employees use Box AI generative AI features, as the vendor has dropped its consumption pricing model without raising the subscription fee, effective today.

Moreover, the company previewed features to come later this year, including a revamped metadata API, GPT-4o integration, and Box AI image and spreadsheet support.

Previously, Enterprise Plus customers paid consumption fees tacked on to their subscription prices when individual users performed more than 20 generative AI-fueled operations a month, with an allotted overage of 2,000 per enterprise.

Box CEO Aaron Levie -- who publicly pleaded last year with friend and OpenAI founder Sam Altman to bring down his company's generative AI fees -- said customer requests were one factor that drove the decision. Another was OpenAI dropping prices for generative AI tokens, which could amount to a 90% reduction for some users who used large language models (LLMs) prior to GPT-4o.

"Given the amount of data that [our customers] have, the cost of tokens is almost the single biggest driver to the use cases that we deliver for customers," Levie said. "So, we're quite excited about the cost coming down."

There might have been something else in play with the pricing change, according to Deep Analysis founder Alan Pelz-Sharpe: Most enterprises, at best, are still experimenting with generative AI. A few have found enough value to pay for it. But it remains an open question whether or not many enterprises will find the ROI that the finance team requires before they buy generative AI services for enterprise content management.

Pelz-Sharpe said he was on a call with 15 systems integrators this week and asked them whose customers are using generative AI. Few answered in the affirmative.

"The whole industry has a challenge at the moment," Pelz-Sharpe said. "It is expensive, and nobody's using it. How do you encourage people to actually start playing around with this and testing it? Well, you're not going to do that by charging for it, so they bundle it for free. Just like they did with the e-signatures, because that was the problem: Digital signatures are costly."

Also previewed Thursday were new features Box plans to release later this year. First is support for GPT-4o in Box Hubs. GPT-4o is much faster, Levie said. While Box hasn't made its final decision, he said the company is leaning toward using that model for its image recognition feature expected to be rolled out later this year.

Box AI-powered metadata extraction example screenshot.
Box AI taps generative AI to create metadata for users' files, which then can be piped to outside apps through its metadata API.

Box also announced a revamped metadata extraction API to execute external workflows, which Pelz-Sharpe called a crucial tool to get information from within Box out into other applications. One example of this might be finding content in Box documents related to a sales deal and bringing it into Salesforce, then auto-populating it into a customer's CRM record via one of Salesforce's numerous automation tools.

Looking down the road, Levie said he envisions generative AI becoming more autonomous, as enterprises figure out new ways to empower their bots while at the same time LLMs get faster and more competent.

"Five years from now, probably far sooner, you'll instruct AI [on] what you want to have done in your business process or your workflow, and AI will effectively just go and accomplish it," Levie said. "You might say, 'Hey, I have a contract management process where I want you to review this contract based on the amount of the contract and some of the different clauses, routed to the right lawyer on the team to verify something,' then it passes it to somebody else in the sales team that might also involve an AI agent that reviews the document further."

Don Fluckinger is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial. He covers customer experience, digital experience management and end-user computing. Got a tip? Email him.

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