Dropbox used its inaugural user conference in San Francisco last week to share its vision for the company’s future and announce a set of new features which are the first steps in building “the smart workspace”. 

Dropbox is in the process of transforming from its heritage as a storage company to one which turns the file folder into a smart digital workspace by bringing together content and the tools workers use to collaborate in one place. 

At its inaugural Work in Progress user conference, the company unveiled Dropbox Spaces which brings cloud content and local files together, creating a new way to access everything you need from one central place. 

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

Dean Swan, Dropbox ANZ Country Director, said the he expect that the smart workspace will be one of the most important technology investments that an organization will make in the near future.

Dropbox plans to build a digital environmental which centralises all of the team’s content and tools such as Slack for messaging, Zoom for video conferencing and Trello for coordinating projects to remove the noise and distractions created by the modern working environment. 

“Knowledge work specifically really requires cognitive output and that cognitive output requires focus. From a technology industry perspective, we are sort of contributing to that problem. We work in a world where using technology at work can be fragmented and distracting,” Swan told Which-50.  

Swan explained that data and content scattered across a variety of ecosystems and different teams working out of Microsoft, Google or Apple ecosystem make it difficult to stay focused at work. 

“How do we bring all of that together into a workspace that is calmer, more focused, and less crowded? And I think for the end user, do it in a way that there isn’t this context switching that and helps them stay organised.” 

The features, which include new machine learning capabilities, are an upgrade to the product experience for Dropbox’s existing users and there is no change in billing, (Dropbox charges per user for unlimited storage). 

According to Gartner, the market for social software and workplace collaboration tools expected to grow from an estimated US$2.7 billion in 2018 to US$4.8 billion by 2023, nearly doubling in size. 

Gartner’s research highlights that the market for collaboration tools in highly fragmented and businesses are adopted specific tools to solve individual problems. 

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