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Dropbox launches product suite in response to booming gig economy

Dropbox launches product suite in response to booming gig economy

AImed at freelancers, Dropbox Professional features business-grade tools

Dropbox has launched a suite of products targeted squarely at the self-employed business user, in response to the growing freelancer economy. 

Dropbox Professional brings together a number of features that have been available to enterprise customers, such as Smart Sync and support, as well as new feature Dropbox Showcase.

Showcase allows users to pull content onto a branded page with visual previews, customised layouts, and captions. It also lets users track who views, downloads, or comments on their files.

“Work is becoming more fluid as the scope of projects that individuals can take on expands. In this new world, it’s critical to deliver a phenomenal first impression, every time. Dropbox Professional gives independent workers new ways to organise their workflow and stand out from the crowd by helping them share their work in a customised way that’s richer than email,” said Todd Jackson, Dropbox head of product.

The Professional tier is available for US$199 a year and includes 1TB of storage.

Dropbox is hoping to capitalise on the growing number of freelance, ‘gig economy’ workers locally. According to McCrindle Research, the proportion of Australians working on a part-time or casual basis has tripled from 1 in 10 a generation ago to more than 3 in 10 today.

In 2016 a CSIRO Data61 report Tomorrow's Digitally Enabled Workforce determined the number of independent contractors in Australia was well over a million.

A media release for the new suite noted “architects, designers, sales people and other professionals”

The launch follows a major rebranding exercise this month – “the biggest change to the Dropbox look in our 10-year history” – made in a bid to appeal to creatives.

“The design reflects our passion: building tools that help teams find focus, stay in their flow, and unleash their creative energy,” CMO Carolyn Feinstein, said earlier this month.

Globally Dropbox has around 500 million registered users.

ESG senior analyst Terri McClure said that targeting self-employed workers offers a point of differentiation for Dropbox in a competitive cloud storage and file-sharing market which includes players like Box, Egnyte and Google.

“Dropbox’s rivals are going in all different directions,” she said. “This move wouldn’t make sense for everyone in the market, but for Dropbox it does. It gives significant value add and helps broaden the appeal for independent workers to use the same tools they know and love in their personal life for work.”

While it wouldn’t make sense for a smaller company with a smaller user base to target large numbers of independent workers, McClure said, “given Dropbox’s half a billion users, giving a few million of them a reason to pay, or pay more, makes sense.”

In June, Dropbox Australia named former Survey Monkey managing director Tony Ward as country manager.

Ward, who served as ANZ director of sales at LinkedIn and local CMO and COO at Microsoft, replaces Charlie Wood, who departed the file hosting and collaboration platform in May.

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Tags file sharingdropboxcontractorindependentFreelancergig economyself-employed

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