Body cameras have been a great tool for law enforcement, but they've also had a lot of problems since they started to become commonplace nearly a decade ago. Officers needed to turn on cameras to capture footage (which they sometimes haven't done), data was difficult to transfer from cameras to a central database, and sifting through hours of footage is tedious work.
Axon (AXON 2.34%) is trying to address each of those challenges with the Body 3 camera and associated hardware and software services for law enforcement. And the product just took a big step forward.
Body cameras are going wireless
Hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers are wearing body cameras on the job, but the videos they take don't reach colleagues or prosecutors for hours or even days after an incident. That's changing now that Axon Body 3 has been approved by Verizon (VZ -0.10%) for the Verizon Responder Private Core and by AT&T (T 0.38%) for its FirstNet Ready platform to run on their respective 4G LTE networks.
Video from an officer's body camera can now be uploaded or live streamed to third party viewers via the LTE wireless connection built into the camera itself. First responders in a control room could literally watch what's happening live in the field, improving their ability to assign resources and provide accurate information to related parties. This will improve information flow, and will fit perfectly with other new offerings.
Making body camera operations seamless
I mentioned that Axon was trying to make body camera operations more seamless, and wireless is a big part of that. Accessories like Axon Signal Sidearm also play a role, signaling a camera to turn on when a weapon is drawn and recording footage starting 30 seconds before the draw. That way there's no burden on the officer to turn a camera on, and law enforcement agencies and citizens know the camera will be turned on if a weapon is fired.
The features in Axon Records will also be useful, as they allow videos to be tagged and organized based on events in the field. With an automatic upload to the cloud, officers could provide a lot of footage of incidents without lifting a finger.
Axon's full suite of products is making data capture more reliable, and if it works as planned it'll make officers' jobs easier as well.
The future of law enforcement
Axon's ultimate goal is to provide indispensible tools and services to law enforcement agencies around the world. It's incrementally taking steps to add to the product portfolio over time, but periodically there are milestones that investors should pay attention to. The launch of a body camera with wireless connections and live streaming is a big deal, and customers will start seeing the product later this month. When combined with services like Axon Records, this is a big step toward Axon's vision of making law enforcement -- and communities -- safer around the world, and should be a huge win financially for the company if it means more agencies signing up for the company's services.