The collaboration space is getting a lot more intense. More products, more competitors, all jostling to get ahead of the other. This week Box announced it will boost the speed of its upload abilities and with this, hopes to gain a competitive edge over Google Drive and Dropbox.

And if it does what Box says it can do, Box Accelerator -- the new product -- should give it an edge. According to Box, Accelerator is the first global transfer network available to business users and will offer users upload speeds that are up to 10 times faster than competitors.

In a workspace that is becoming increasingly dependent on video and photos, this kind of increase in speeds is going to be a real blessing. Outside of the US, where upload speeds are dependent on distance from data centers, it’s going to be a double blessing.

In fact, it may be that it is the international market that Box is thinking about with this product, although this is purely speculation.

As Box continues to expand internationally, it's critical that we provide all our customers with a consistently great experience and rapid data access. Box Accelerator provides the fastest, most secure channel to connect businesses with their content in the cloud,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box.

What is not speculation is that Box has set its sites on the international market as we’ve seen in a number of announcements over the past year. And part of the international presence has helped Box develop Accelerator.

Box Accelerator

One of the core elements of Accelerator is that it is bringing data centers closer to customers. With it, Box has developed:

  • Nine new upload centers -- as opposed to three before the launch of Accelerator -- including locations that will serve Australia, Europe and South America.
  • User traffic analysis that takes into account origin of traffic, operating systems and browser preferences of users.
  • Continuous analysis of factors that may impact on upload speed
  • Information security improvements.

Box also says that it carried out analysis of Accelerator against three other major cloud file sharing providers. It didn’t say that they were competitors, but it probably didn’t really have to.

Globally, it says it is 2.7 times faster than its nearest global competitor and 3.1 times fast than its closest competitor in the US.

It also says that it won’t be easy for other companies to offer alternatives to this as this is a smart technology that learns as it goes. By this, it means Accelerate learns from all the different data transactions it does and learns the quickest way to work with each individual user.

That this is aimed at giving it a competitive edge is also underlined by the fact that it is free to Box users that are already signed up. It currently supports upload to the Box web application and will be building out in the future to extend it to other features.

Dropbox’s iOS Upgrade

But Box is not the only company that is looking to cut itself some competitive advantage. Dropbox has also been busy recently and has just announced that it upgraded its iOS app with the ability to share content with major social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as providing support for AirPrint.

While Dropbox has had an iOS sharing option in the past, it was quite limited, enabling users to update content by email, or ‘copy’ only. This release is a major step forward in this respect as that same content can now be shared with a single click.

Dropbox iOS app.jpg
Dropbox for iOS

As yet this update isn’t available on the Android app, but it does come with support for Korean. It also offers incentives to leave their photos in Dropbox and, with AirPrint gives users easier access to photo printing.

Dropbox has been pushing and developing its imaging sharing functionality in recent months with the redesign of its Web services to accommodate images. It has also added the ability to share folders with designated individuals. If you want it, it’s free and downloadable from iTunes here.