taser axon body cameras
(Photo by Axon)

There’ve been two major developments in the world of Taser. First, the Arizona-based company has announced it is changing its name to Axon, after its line of body cameras. Second, it’s launching a new program to equip every police officer in the United States with one of said body cameras — along with the accompanying hardware, software, data storage and support — free of charge for an entire year.

Why the new name? Well, CEO and Founder Rick Smith said it’s a way of reflecting the company’s evolution from “a less-lethal weapons manufacturing company” into a “full solutions provider of cloud and mobile software, connected devices, wearable cameras, and now artificial intelligence.”

Smith added that Taser would remain one of Axon’s flagship products, but now as a “single focused product brand for our suite of Smart Weapons.”

As The Verge points out, Taser sales are still strong — making up three quarters of the company’s revenue in 2016 — but the revenue from body camera products nearly doubled last year, along with the revenue from Evidence.com, which is Axon’s cloud-based system that stores data – from body cameras to audio records – while “streamlining data management and sharing.”

The market space for body cameras and accompanying tech is growing, with no signs of slowing down. That’s also why Axon announced a program to give free body cameras to police officers in the U.S. for an entire year.

The offer includes one Axon Body 2 camera per officer; digital evidence data storage with an Evidence.com “Unlimited Pro” license; two mounts per officer, docking station to upload body cam footage and access to Axon’s full online training library. Clearly, Axon is going all-in with its body cameras.

“Cameras are the first of many steps toward a future where officers feel more confident and are freed from mundane report writing to focus more time on community policing,” Smith said. “Ask any officer about what prevents them from spending more time in the community, they’ll tell you it’s because they spend the majority of their shift filling out forms, often by hand. In time, cameras combined with artificial intelligence will make that very manual process automatic and effortless by creating video records to replace manual forms. The faster we can get this technology to officers who need it, the faster we can begin that process and free up officers’ time to get back into the community, building better relationships with the people they serve.”

For information on how to sign up for the offer, visit: www.axon.com/offer.

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