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New Body Camera Vendor Axis Emphasizes Open Architecture

Even as giants in the body-worn camera space have absorbed smaller competitors in recent years, the Swedish company owned by Canon is betting new cameras that work with other systems will sell.

by / March 27, 2020

The police body camera industry hasn’t wanted for or competition or controversy in recent years, but it gained a new player last week.

Axis Communications, a Swedish company that makes A/V network and surveillance tools, has announced its first body camera for law enforcement, emphasizing open architecture that gives police departments the flexibility to store data on premises or in any number of cloud platforms. The company’s news release also touted a 12-hour battery life, end-to-end data encryption, 1080p resolution with wide dynamic range, dual microphones with noise suppression, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, location tracking, and a six-axis gyro and accelerometer.

While data suggests most police departments have probably purchased body cameras at least once, Axis probably hopes to make inroads when those departments decide to upgrade. The Axis camera’s open architecture offers them the option of swapping out old hardware for new, without changing their data storage operations.

Segment Development Manager Kevin Taylor wrote in an email that Axis got into the body camera market because customers were “looking for this next logical solution step.” He said the ability to integrate new body camera data with other video management systems (VMS) and evidence management systems (EMS) could allow law enforcement agencies to consolidate certain tools.

“The fact that the Axis Body Worn Camera solution is compatible with other systems means law enforcement agencies have choices,” he wrote. “They already use these software platforms in their daily operation. Why should they have to adopt another platform only for storage of video from body-worn devices? With our offering, the agencies will be able to begin to move more sub-systems to their preferred single pane of glass, whether that be their VMS, EMS or RMS.”

The news release said the full apparatus consists of a camera, docking station and system controller, plus a mobile app that allows users to review footage and add categories, descriptions and notes.

Taylor said the cameras were field tested but would not specify where, adding that a formal case study is in progress.

Founded in 1984 and acquired by Canon five years ago, according to Crunchbase, Axis today employs some 3,000 people in over 50 countries. The company’s new body camera will be competing with established products in the market from companies such as Axon, Digital Ally, Motorola Solutions and Wolfcom.

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Andrew Westrope Staff Writer

Andrew Westrope is a staff writer for Government Technology. Before that, he was a reporter and editor at community newspapers for seven years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.

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