What: Founded in 2005, Palo Alto, CA-based Box.net bills itself as cloud-content management system, a "cloud computing" service referring to computing that happens on and over the greater Web, not on an organization's or individual's in-house server.
The service allows companies to collaborate on, create, and manage content over the Web from anywhere, on a simple-to-use platform and interface. The startup, co-founded by high school buddies Dylan Smith and Aaron Levie, streamlines the process of several users collaborating on content at any time, from anywhere.
How: The subscription service consolidates several types of files and content in a secure, single location, which can then be logged into from any computer with Web access. Box.net recently launched an Android app, and also offers an app for Apple's iPad and iPhone.
Features include a real-time news feed of all the activities happening around the content and full-text search.
Why: Ashley Mayer, senior corporate communications manager, uses the service extensively for her own Box.net PR initiatives. Among the many tasks she performs on Box.net, Mayer will use the service to send PR and product launch materials to reporters in one simple URL. For reporters, it's an efficient way to view and understand an organization's PR content in one location.
"A lot of PR communication happens over e-mail," laments Mayer. "I remember my agency days; you ended up with three, four, or five versions of content."
Who: While the service can be used for internal collaboration, it can also be used by PR firms to collaborate with clients. "The worst thing you can do in tech PR is use a cumbersome way of communicating," says Mayer.
VisiTech PR, based in Denver, implemented Box.net last October as part of an IT overhaul. President Lisa Wilson says it has helped communications between its European offices and coworkers on the road.
"The ability to collaborate in the cloud is appealing, as we work with our clients to fine-tune and finalize the content we develop," she says.