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Axon Brings Its Public Safety Technology to Retail

The provider of body cameras and Tasers to police is making a push into retail and health care via a new product line. That move comes amid larger changes in public safety tech.

People using self checkouts at a store.
A University of Oxford study predicts that automation will cause the most job losses in retail sales.
(FlickrCC/pin add)
Axon, known for its body cameras and Tasers, is bringing its public safety expertise to retail and health care via a new product line.

The government technology firm has launched what it calls a “new generation of body cameras designed for frontline workers in retail stores and healthcare facilities.”

Axon Body Workforce, billed as the company’s “first personal safety camera designed to protect frontline workers,” uses the same technology deployed by more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies around the world, according to the company.

This is not the first time Axon has sold its technology to clients other than public safety agencies.

A third of U.S. hospitals have bought Axon tools, Mike Shore, vice president and general manager of Enterprise at Axon, told Government Technology via email.

The “marked increase” in incidents during the pandemic, in fact, led Axon in 2020 to form the Enterprise team to focus on safety in health care, he said.

A similar trend is driving the company’s new push into non-governmental areas.

“Seeing the increase in workplace violence against frontline workers also in retail aligns with our mission to protect them through proven technology like body-worn cameras,” Shore said.

A survey from 2023, in fact, found that some 60 percent of retail workers have witnessed violence in the workplace. Axon’s own survey findings from late 2023, used to boost the launch of the Axon Body Workforce line, found that 47 of retail workers have seen or experienced “physical or verbal violence on the job.”

“Public safety is about people feeling and being safe in public, and Axon believes in identifying solutions through technology, training and data that can help de-escalate unfolding threats and drastically increase safety, in any moment, in every environment,” Shore said via email when asked about Axon’s plans to sell more tech outside the government space.

Axon would seem to have an advantage when doing so.

Axon launched more than 30 years ago, as Shore noted, and that means the company has decades of experience and knowledge that can be used in other markets.

“We are not starting from scratch — rather, we can stand on the shoulders of our law enforcement experience to confidently enter new markets,” he said. “Our focus now is on leveraging the tech we have built and proven in law enforcement and tailoring it for enterprise markets.”

That’s not to say that Axon is reducing its focus on public safety.

For example, the company recently launched its “moonshot” goal of reducing police-related shootings — something the company hopes to achieve in part via a new database of police-involved shootings.

As that happens, and the public safety tech space becomes ever more active and crowded, other companies and competitors are placing their bets on new types of non-lethal weapons.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.