Box wants to be the place where enterprises store, sync and share their content. We’re talking all of your content, all of the time, regardless of its format or size.
Today Box’s head honcho, Aaron Levie announced the acquisition of Streem, a YCombinator startup that has developed a means of accessing all of your content stored in the cloud via your desktop.
What’s interesting about Streem is that it has developed StreemFS, a new file system that is supposed to turn the cloud into an extension of your hard drive.
What it Offers
In other words, Streem has the ability to provide storage without limits. Nice, at least until we see Box’s bill, which, if their revenue model changes in time, may be more manageable than it might appear to be at the moment. More about that later.
Streem brings with it two other capabilities as well. In Streems’s words:
- “Custom streaming and buffering algorithms to make files stored on the cloud open as fast as local ones. Want to watch a 2GB video on your desktop? Streem will open it in your favorite video player and start playing immediately -- there's no lag or delay.
- An on-the-fly video transcoder that instantly streams videos regardless of their original format. Unsure about the format of your video or on a low-bandwidth connection? Our transcoder will stream the proper format and dynamically fluctuate the quality of the video stream based on your internet speed.
What exactly is Box going to do with these acquired capabilities? It’s going to incorporate them into its existing service, of course. The “why” of it is pretty simple, the cloud has a capacity and capabilities that Levie says your hard drive does not.
Though Box doesn’t make the claim directly, their messaging seems pretty clear, “We are about to one-up your hard drive by offering you more storage and a better experience in the cloud.
The one issue that Box’s competitors like Accellion, Egnyte, Syncplicity and even Dropbox, as well as some enterprises, will, no doubt, raise is that files will never be as secure in the cloud (in this case Box) as they would be on premise, making an on premise/private cloud or hybrid solutions superior.
Since Box is all about the cloud, and it doesn’t look like that will change, and hybrid or on premise vendors believe that on-prem options are non-negotiable, it is a pointless debate that’s not really worthwhile having.
It is worth noting, however, that Dropbox’s recent acquisition of MobileSpan, brings an “uncloud” solution to Dropbox’s budding Dropbox for Business offering that should bring relief to the bosses of a good chunk of its 300 million user base that use Dropbox at work whether it’s sanctioned or not.
It’s doubtful that the Streem acquisition will change Box’s valuation or its ability to win a greater number of customers in the short run, in spite of Levie’s snake-charm.
But, in the long run, you have to wonder whether Box’s strategy is about making money by charging for storage, if so, it’s playing a game it will eventually lose. And Levie isn’t that dumb.
What Box is/will be about is charging for services on top of storage and those will likely go beyond sync and share.
In the end Box wants to be the place where you store, access, sync and collaborate on all of your content and Streem should help make that happen.
And There is More
In late breaking Sync and Share news, CMSWire has learned that Dropbox has acquired Parastructure, a data visualization and business intelligence startup in stealth. The company's website (if there ever was one) no longer exists. We don't have anything value-adding to share at this time.