Taser International’s is known for selling stun guns and body cameras to police. That technology is in the news a lot recently as police actions come under scrutiny. But Taser is also making a buzz in the technology sector by diversifying into a new field: storage.
Taser is an industry leader in stun guns, which still account for the bulk of the company’s production at its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. Taser also makes body cameras. But once officers are wearing those cameras, what are police departments going to do with all that video?
Taser’s Steve Tuttle says that’s where the company stands to make big money in the future. “That’s the back end cloud,” he said. “That provides the storage, the management, the service and the sharing of all this data.”
Taser’s product is called Evidence.com. It costs police departments anywhere from $15 to $99 per month, per officer.
Steve Dyer is a Senior Research Analyst at Craig-Hallum Capital Group who follows police technology. He says while formidable tech companies like Motorola and Panasonic are getting into the body camera industry, Taser’s cloud-based service gives the company an edge. “By our count, of the top 60 departments, they’ve lost only two to competitors,” Dyer said.
A Taser International employee checks to make sure a body camera is compatible with a smart phone application.
Noah Johnson is a Commander with the Tempe, Arizona Police. His department recently purchased Taser’s Axon cameras and is gradually rolling them out across the force. Tempe went with the cloud storage subscriptions because it helps them modernize and organize all of their evidence storage.
“We were looking for a process not only with the body cameras but other data that we collect,” Johnson said. “You know audio, videos from maybe a 7-11 from an armed robbery, things like that.”
Previously, the department’s video and audio lived on tape cassettes and DVDs.
Tuttle, of Taser International, explains what its storage system can do. “When you do a recording of an incident, you have the ability to play it back and start filling in the report while you’re in the squad car,” Tuttle said. “And those become metatags – defining what kind of crime it was, what violation it was, the person’s social security number.”
Dyer, of Craig-Hallum, thinks the growth potential for the industry is enormous – especially when cities realize the return on investment when it comes to preventing claims against their police departments. He says the New York Police Department, alone, has paid out millions over the past decade over disputed claims.
“You could put a camera on every officer in New York City for a fraction of that,” Dyer said.
And that means Taser could face more competition in the future to manage all that data.
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