Introduction to Innovative Solutions for Box

ABBYYInnovations for Box

In this series of solutions we will document several innovate solutions for Box that bring unique value or compliment Box’s highly-secure document collaboration service.  Our intention is to inspire creative thinking about all the great possibilities around using the Box platform.  Some solutions will use existing capabilities of various piece-parts from different vendors that when put together and configured properly, form a solution.  While with others that we will describe, the solution would require some additional integration work such as creating Web Services connectivity, primarily.  However, even when some additional integration work is required the goal of these solutions is that most of the solution is already realized and we want to avoid long development times or costly integration fees by introducing too much complication.  We will not cover every single step in the configuration process but we will still be thorough.  Software installation will not be covered, it will be assumed.  Just like the Box experience we strive to offer a great user experience that is highly-effective to enhance productivity in your professional and personal life.

We have created a schedule of proposed solutions to share with you however, your input is what is of most importance to us, and therefore we are flexible to modify our schedule.  If there is something specific you would like to see documented, or if there is a solution idea you would like to suggest, then please contact us and we can consider creating something custom.  We’d love to hear from you!

 

Innovations for Box (click link below for more information)

  1. File Conversion for Box
  2. Image Import with Cloud Conversion for Box
  3. ERP with Automatic Data Capture for Box
  4. SharePoint with Automatic Data Capture and two-way syncing for Box
  5. High-Volume Scanning and Conversion with WebDAV upload for Box
  6. Exploiting Big Data with Indexes for Box
  7. Mobile with Automatic Data Capture for Box
  8. Systems of Record and High Collaboration for Box
  9. ABBYYForce for Box

Image Import with Cloud Conversion for Box

Use Case:  Creating electronic image files for paper documents is an important step for organizations to realize process improvement but this is often simply not good enough to achieve true efficiency. In real world business scenarios there most likely is always valuable information trapped in electronic image files stored on file sharing servers, individual persons local disk drives or even stored on “the cloud”.  For this solution we’ll want to take all these isolated electronic, image-only files and upload them to a cloud-based service for processing.  After processing, then we will have the image, as well as the extracted results, sent to Box where the files now contain the indexes that will allow for much improved organization, enhanced security and collaboration of this more “intelligent” electronic information versus just image-only.

  1. One-time processing needed:  Maybe an organization has the need to covert some image-only files into a different format for a one-time project but does not need this capability moving forward.  In this case using a service allows the organization just to pay for the services rendered instead of capital investment in technology, training or maintenance fees
  2. Desire to limit IT infrastructure:  Servers, networking equipment, operation system software and other information technology (IT) required to maintain an organizations own data center is often costly and complicated.  Therefore, a quickly emerging trend is to use software services instead of building your own internal systems.  In this situation the organization can benefit by outsourcing their image conversion process to a services company instead of managing it on their own
  3. Time to utilization:  Business agility is very important these days and any wasted time directly, negatively effects the bottom-line financially.  Therefore, when the situation dictates that the organizations needs image conversion capability and does not have the time or resources to acquire, install, configure and then start using these services, it is much more desirable to use a service.

 

Features Benefits
  • Cloud processing, OPEX vs. CAPX
  • Unlimited scalability
  • Economies of sharing advanced technology
  • No technical infrastructure to install
  • Easily increase volumes as needed
  • Allows organizations of all sizes to share sophisticated resources by sharing costs

 

Solution Description:   Even after we hope to achieve efficiency-euphoria by digitizing all our electronic documents, the reality is that images themselves are of little value until we apply some form of conversion or data extraction to these images so that computers can understand the content, or context, of the information contained in the image.  In this particular solution we will use a cloud-processing service and then store in Box.  This means that there is absolutely no infrastructure to install and also no need for training.  All the user has to do is upload an image!

 

System Requirements:

Note:  This is a software developer solution.  We are using the ABBYY OCRSDK.com service to perform the conversion functionality.  We will use two methods in this solution to upload images to this conversion service.  One will be a demo application and one will be a web interface to upload the images.  Sample source code for many platforms and operating systems is provided so that a graphic user interface can be created with minimal effort.  Additionally, to get free access to try this type of functionality for yourself right now please visit www.FineReaderOnline.com.

  1. Box account with Box Sync
  2. Internet connection
  3. ABBYY OCRSDK.com account

 

Configuration Steps (Complexity = Easy):

  1. In our desktop demo application for OCRSDK.com we have created it to be able to upload images, utilize various OCRSDK.com features then return the results back to our own computer.  In real-world scenarios you might chose to integrate this capability to deliver results directly into a back-end system
  2. Open Box Sync and click the Change ‘My Box Files’ location.  Browse to the folder for your OCRSDK.com results and press the OK button to save your settings
  3. Drag images from your computer into the Active tasks window within the application
  4. Once the images have been processed then you can view Completed tasks in the right window of the application
  5. Log into Box and you can view your files that have been automatically uploaded via Box Sync
  6. …or, using the web interface demo you can see dragging files to be uploaded, then you can see them processing and finally you can view and/or save the results

 

User operation (Complexity = Easy):

  1. Drag and drop files into a user interface as we demonstrated in our two examples.  Again, these are demo applications so that user experience will vary from a visual standpoint
  2. Using the OCRSDK.com sample source code, software developer’s can be creative to design different types of solutions including embedding this functionality into an existing application, creating a brand new application or extending this capability to different devices such as camera-enabled mobile devices

 

Associated screen prints on this solution:

1.  Box Sync:  Change ‘My Box Files’ location

2.  Change Box Sync Folder

3.  Drag-and-drop using OCRSDK.com demo application

 4.  Active tasks and Completed tasks using OCRSDK.com demo application

 5.  Converted files automatically synced into Box

 6.  Drag-and-drop web-based interface for OCRSDK.com

7.  Processing using web-based interface for OCRSDK.com

8.  Files finished using web-based interface for OCRSDK.com

Thank you for your attention to this Innovative Solution for Box.  Since this is primarily a software developer type solution I would suspect that there probably are many creative ways to implement this service.  Do you have an idea or thought about image conversion as a service?  Is there are interesting use case scenario that you would like to discuss?  We would love to hear from you.

File Conversion for Box

Use Case:

There are many scenarios where converting an image file such as a JPG, TIFF or PDF to a different format such as DOC, XML or Searchable PDF would be extremely useful.  Below are three specific examples:

  1. Expense Receipts:  XML is a useful standard to exchange information between two systems using just a network connection.  Most modern systems can ingest XML which enables easy integration possibilities without costly professional services fees.  In our use case example we capture all the details from an expense receipt including Establishment, Date, Total and all the line-item detail with easy point-and-click operation because this was the reimbursement policy of our organization.
  2. Legal:  Imagine a lawyer receives a new case.  Their desire is to gather as much information as possible to best represent their client.  Through the discovery process they acquire many image-only PDF files and need to be able to find information within these image files based on keyword searches.  For this reason they would want to convert these image-only PDF files into fully Searchable PDF’s.
  3. Marketing:  You are in the marketing department and you often receive image-only files that you would like to edit but you are limited to applying stick-notes in Acrobat which is not an effective process.  In this use case you can easily import these image-only files and have them converted in fully editable .DOC files in no time.


Features Benefits
  • Easy and simple user operation
  • Customize workflows for particular task
  • Centralized administration
  • Users more likely to use technology
  • Workflows can be precise to process
  • Reduce deployment or maintenance costs

Solution Description:

The standard functionality of Box does not provide any method for file conversion.  Therefore, we will create a solution that is extremely easy to use from a user perspective standpoint but also very efficient for enhanced productivity.  Our solution will consist of two ways in which users can use File Conversion for Box.

  1. Convert image files to a different format before sending to Box
  2. Converting image files to a different format that are currently stored in Box

 

System Requirements:

  1. Box account with Box Sync
  2. ABBYY Recognition Server
  3. Fujitsu ScanSnap N1800 Network Scanner

 

Configuration Steps (Complexity = Simple to Moderate, depending on ambition):

  1. Install Box Sync on a centrally available computer on your network.  This can be your individual computer or a shared file server, it does not matter.  Start Box Sync with your Box login credentials.
  2. Create a folder called “Input” somewhere on the computer.  I put it on the desktop so it was easy to find.
  3. Locate and open the “My Box Files” folder found in My Documents
  4. Create shared sub-folders within both of these folders for different workflows you would like to create.  As a best practice I name the folders identical names and I’m very specific on the name of the folder to differentiate from other workflows.
    1. For example, we will create a “Convert to DOC”, “Convert to XML” and “Convert to Searchable PDF” in both folders
  5. Start ABBYY Recognition Server Console  Administration
    1. Create a new workflow called “Convert to DOC”
    2. Navigate to the Input tab and Browse to the “Convert to DOC” Input folder
    3. Navigate to the Output tab and select the output format as “Microsoft Word Document (*.doc)”
    4. Browse to the “Convert to DOC” Output folder as the destination
    5. Repeat this setup for each one of your workflows

 

User operation (Complexity = Easy):

  1. All the user has to do is either capture an image from the Fujitsu ScanSnap N1800 network scanner, for example, as seen in this screen print of the ScanSnap N1800 user interface
  2. Or simply copy/drag an image into an input folder.  Notice that we’ve created a specific ‘Input’ folder on our desktop as well as some convenient shortcuts
  3. The images are automatically processed through the respective workflow and after processed through conversion they will be available in Box without any additional user interaction

 

Associated screen prints on this solution:

1.  Input Folder

2.  “My Box Files” folder

3.  Input and Output folders

4.  ABBYY Recognition Server Console Administration

5.  New Workflow

6.  Workflow Name and Input Folder

7.  Output Format

8.  Output Folder

User Experience screen prints:

1.  User selects Workflow from the ScanSnap N1800 Touch Screen

2.  Or input Workflow folders can be used

3.  Images are converted and sent to Box