Mobile devices have reshaped the enterprise landscape. Businesses are operating in a world where communication, collaboration and innovation happen in real-time, regardless of location or platform. Smartphones, tablets and mobile applications have democratized the workplace and empowered a new generation of worker. Welcome to the post-PC era.
If you’re an active user of productivity apps on the iPad, you’ve probably noticed that each app stores its own files. So, if you use five productivity apps, then you have five places where your files are being stored. If you have ten productivity apps, then… you get the idea.
We have millions of people using our mobile app, and the most common question we get from them is: How can I use Box as the single place where I hold my files/content and still use my favorite productivity apps?
Today, we’re pleased to answer that question with the introduction of Box OneCloud—the first enterprise mobile framework to bring together your mobile content and the mission-critical apps designed to work with it. Starting with over thirty iOS apps, including four premier apps that offer deeper “round-trip” integrations, OneCloud will help you be productive from anywhere.
Introducing OneCloud Premier Apps
We announced four premier apps on the iPad today. Each of these apps has two important characteristics: (1) we think these apps represent best-in-class functionality requested by our customers and (2) each app has implemented a round-trip connection with Box: when a file “leaves” Box to be edited or modified, it can be saved back to Box in its original location. Here are the four apps in more detail:
Edit Documents Without Your Laptop
Quickoffice makes it simple to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from the road. Make important changes from your mobile device and save back to your Box account automatically.
Leave Feedback Instantly
Adding annotations to key documents in the field or the board room is a breeze with PDF Expert from Readdledocs. Draw, highlight and make notes on files. Then save back to your Box account so the whole team is aligned.
Take Ideas to the Next Level
With PaperPort Notes from Nuance Communications, capturing ideas and to-do items while on the go is easy. Tools like voice dictation and recording keep you productive when typing isn’t an option.
Say Goodbye to Faxes
E-signing is a breeze with Adobe EchoSign, so you never have to worry about signing and faxing contracts again. Open, sign and send along right from your iPad.
Let’s see how one of these apps works. Starting in Box, we first select a file for editing. In this case, it’s a PowerPoint file.
Now, as we discussed above, the file is opened in Quickoffice for editing. In Quickoffice, after making the required changes, we can save the file back to Box in the location from which it was opened.
The result? Users are happy because they can easily edit files in Box. And our enterprise security friends are happy because the file goes out to be edited but comes back to Box to be securely stored, managed and shared.
Discovering Apps That Work With Box
When you open a file in Box for iPhone and iPad, you’ll now see a cloud logo button on the top menu. If you click that button, you’ll see a dropdown menu that lists the compatible apps installed on your device designed to work with that file type. No compatible apps installed? No problem. You’ll also see a button that allows you to add one from our gallery of apps.
Creating a new file from Box for iPhone and iPad is just as easy as opening one from the “+” menu. You’ll see a list of apps on your device you can use to create a new file, or you can add a new app by tapping “View More Apps.”
In either menu, if you select “Add OneCloud Apps” or “View More Apps,” you’ll be presented with a gallery of top productivity apps, which helps you quickly browse and purchase/download compatible apps from the App Store.
In the app gallery, you’ll see we make a distinction between premier apps and other apps. As we described earlier, premier apps have integrated with Box in a special, secure way: files opened from within Box can be saved back to their original location in Box once edited, helping ensure files stay within the Box environment. The other apps in the gallery have built integrations with Box, but have not yet become premier apps with that deeper round-trip workflow.
Buying and Installing Box OneCloud in Volume
Individual users who want to obtain and install apps that work with Box on their iPads (and iPhones) can do so by going directly through the Box app to the iTunes App Store. For IT administrators who want to deploy these apps to their organizations, there are two options.
The first option is to use Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program (VPP). The Apple VPP allows administrators to purchase apps in bulk for distribution to their users. Once enrolled, an administrator can generate lists of redemption codes for direct distribution to users through email.
The second option is to use the Apple Configurator, which is an app in the Mac App Store that allows an IT department to easily mass configure iOS devices from a Mac. The key requirement for this to work is that each device needs to be connected to the Mac for provisioning through the Apple Configurator. The Apple Configurator works seamlessly with redemption codes generated from the Volume Purchase Program.
How Do I Learn More?
If you’re an iOS developer and would like to learn more about how to integrate with Box (and the tools we’ve created to make this even easier, like our App to App Integration Framework), check out our developer site.