Free Body Cams: Taser Transforms into Tech Company
Tasers have become basic gear for many police departments. The company who makes the non-lethal weapon of choice for so many police departments is now trying to get officers to use them for more equipment. To that end, they are offering free body cameras to any police department. As part of the move towards becoming a full-service police technology company, Taser has also changed its name to Axon.
Axon has already established itself as the leading supplier of police body cameras. Demand for body cams has skyrocketed in recent years as departments rush to document police actions after incidents of brutality in Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore, MD. Public demand for greater accountability pushed agencies to use more recording devices.
Of course, body cameras generate vast amounts of data, presenting a significant data management challenge. Axon has moved into cloud computing as a natural extension. The result: Axon is now a $1.2 billion company, and does a lot more than just Tasers.
“The Taser brand is a product brand,” says Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith. “People don’t think of cloud software or sensor devices and the many things we now do.”
Offering the cameras to the police for free for one year is a push to make the product indispensable to more departments.
Axon’s ambitions go beyond weapons and cameras: The company is investing in more technology services. Their AI group is working to automate how information is extracted or redacted from the extensive footage banks that are generated by body cams. Reducing police paperwork and records management is a huge undertaking with a huge market. Axon may soon be seen as a tech solutions company rather than a weapons manufacturer.