Dropbox reveals digital workspace vision

At its inaugural Work in Progress user conference, Dropbox revealed its vision for the smart workspace — a digital environment that brings all of a team’s content together with the tools they need.

Dropbox Spaces is now part of the new Dropbox, announced earlier this year, and also includes new features developed through the company’s machine intelligence platform, DBXi. In addition, the company added several new collaboration features across Dropbox surfaces including desktop, mobile, and web apps.

“We’re building the smart workspace because we need technology that helps us quiet the noise, rather than contributing to it,” said Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox. “This starts with the launch of Dropbox Spaces, which brings together your most important content and tools into one organized place, so you can stay focused and in sync with your team.”

“It’s increasingly evident that modern knowledge workers are bombarded with needlessly distracting notifications that stop them from getting work done,” said analyst Chris Marsh, Research Director, Workforce Productivity and Compliance, 451 Research. “451 Research’s survey data shows that only a third of employees are very satisfied with their work applications. The sheer volume of apps they need to use is the biggest overall pain point. Dropbox’s new smart workspace will help address this issue by combining cloud content, platform services, machine intelligence and a collaborative user experience in one central location.”

The company also announced that its new desktop app—previously available in early access—is now generally available and rolling out starting today. The desktop app also includes Dropbox Spaces and several new features, highlighted below.

New features across the Dropbox workspace that support better organisation include:

•Image search that uses machine intelligence to let users find image files including jpg, jpeg, png and gif, by searching for the contents of the images. Now rolling out to Dropbox Professional users; coming soon for Dropbox Business.
•File previews that allow users to see files such as AutoCAD in high fidelity using Dropbox on the desktop, even without source applications installed.
•Paper integration in the Dropbox file system, which makes it possible to create, store, and access Paper docs from Dropbox. The release is available to new Paper users starting today, and will be available to existing users soon.
•Search across overviews, allowing users to see search results from overview descriptions.

New integrations and features to help teams stay coordinated have also been added to the workspace, including:
•HelloSign extension that enables users to sign documents with just a few clicks using newly designed HelloSign features built into Dropbox.
•Recent activity view in the new Dropbox desktop app that shows the latest file activity and comments at a glance, right alongside content.

The company also released several features for IT administrators to help businesses ensure they’re delivering a secure and agile work environment. New features include:

•Enterprise console that provides centralized, org-wide visibility and oversight for IT.
oConsole also now enables settings management at instance-level, and the ability to see all team and member activity in Dropbox, including cloud content stored in Dropbox.
•Quick actions gives admins shortcuts to easily execute remediation on certain activities such as deleting links or restoring items.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine