Box unveils unique AI pricing plan to account for high cost of running LLMs

As generative AI becomes embedded in enterprise software, one of the challenges that companies face is how to fairly price it to recoup the cost of running their content against foundational large language models like OpenAI’s. Box introduced Box AI last May, bringing generative AI to the platform via a partnership with OpenAI. Today, at BoxWorks, the company’s customer conference, it announced a unique way to price its AI functionality.

Box plans on using a credit system, where each user gets 20 credits per month, good for any number of AI tasks adding up to 20 events. “So regardless of whether you ask a document question, you generate content in Box Notes, or you go to a hub and ask a question, you get 20 queries per month,” Levie said.

What happens if they go over that? At that point, they can dip into a shared pool of 2000 additional credits that belong to the entire company. This enables power users to continue to take advantage of the AI features in Box without the company having to spend any additional money.

Customers that are big users of the AI features can buy additional blocks of credit. “So the company has a shared pool of 2000 AI credits for anybody that goes over that. And then as you go over that shared pool, then you just buy additional blocks of AI credits,” he said. The company is still working out exactly how that will work, but they are envisioning a system where companies buy additional blocks worth 10,000 credits, according to Levie.

They came up with this system after chatting with customers and hearing about the different ways they are using the AI features in Box. “We came up with a model that said for your average kind of general user, we can make it really easy for them to get started with AI. But as you have these more advanced power users, then we have a way where you’re just ending up paying for their higher volume usage.”

Levie said they had to come up with a way to charge customers in a fair way, while recognizing the underlying resources to run the generative AI model can get pretty expensive, and they wanted to find a way to balance that. He believes this pricing model does that.

The company also announced that the first two Box AI features – creating content in Box Notes and asking questions about specific documents – would be available in beta for customers signed up for their Enterprise Plus subscription plan starting next month. These customers will be operating under the new pricing model when they start charging for these features.

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