The most flexible body worn camera solution becomes even more flexible

Article
May 12, 2021
It’s just over a year since we announced that Axis was entering the body worn camera market. The launch marked a significant move for Axis – the body worn camera was a new camera format for the company, and one which took a great deal of effort in design. One of the central challenges for the Axis design team was to create – as the announcement highlighted – the ‘world’s most flexible’ body worn camera solution. While at launch much of the focus for this flexibility was on the open architecture which allows for integration with any existing video management systems (VMS) or evidence management systems (EMS), the concept of “flexibility” is realized in a number of ways, from the variety of mounting options to, more recently, a new sensor which opens up numerous additional use cases.

The success of the Axis body worn camera since its launch has been an endorsement of the efforts made by the company’s research and development team in meeting the unique design challenges of the body worn camera format (work which was also recently recognized with a Red Dot design award).

Feedback from customers on the body worn camera system design, in particularly in its ease of use, has been overwhelmingly positive. A typical example comes from The Campus Police Department of the Putnam City School (PCS) District in Oklahoma, U.S.A., with officers praising the body worn camera’s ‘one click’ activation, seamless video download to the department’s VMS when charging, and the variety of camera mounting options.

Technological flexibility at the heart of the body worn camera solution

‘Flexibility’ was a focus during the design of the Axis body worn camera system and remains so through a number of enhancements since its launch.

Technological flexibility has been embedded through the use of open standards, meaning that customers can add body worn cameras to their existing surveillance solutions without needing to replace existing VMS and EMS technology. This is an important consideration for public sector organizations for which budget is often an issue, but also for sectors which may be considering adding body worn cameras to their broader surveillance for the first time.

Another valuable aspect of the flexibility that comes with the Axis body worn camera system is the ability to assign any body worn camera unit to any officer, rather than have a single specific unit assigned to an individual permanently. This is particularly useful if a unit is damaged or lost. Law enforcement officers or security personnel can use their existing credentials – such as an RFID ID card – to check out any body worn camera unit, which is automatically uploaded with their profile.

Flexibility in body worn camera mounting

Everybody - and every body - is unique. It therefore makes sense that body worn cameras have the flexibility to adapt to differences not only in physical attributes, but in personal preferences. For a company which had previously designed cameras which would be mounted on buildings, poles and vehicles, creating one to be worn on a human body presented one of the most challenging areas of the body worn camera’s design. It may seem like a straightforward subject, but as this podcast episode highlights, there are numerous considerations. Again, customer feedback has highlighted that the variety of camera mounting options has been well-received.

Fundamentally, wherever they are worn, body worn cameras need to be mounted to give a comprehensive field of view. The height of the wearer will be a key consideration, as will their right-hand/left-hand preference, and the favoured placement of other tactical equipment. Mounting options must be able to accommodate these basic considerations, and far more besides.

Law enforcement officers and security personnel will be involved in numerous activities during a shift: foot patrols (walking and running), moving in and out of vehicles, riding motorcycles and bicycles, and even mounted officers on horseback. Throughout all of these the body won cameras must deliver a clear view while never becoming an obstruction or hindrance.

The body worn camera will also be used in all weather conditions. Not only does this have implications for the robustness of its design, but the officer will be wearing suitable clothing – from heavy winter coats to light summer shirts; from tactical gear to standard uniform.

Axis provides mounting flexibility through a variety of options, from robust chest harnesses and MOLLE webbing mounts to lighter clip and magnet mounts.

More sensors bring even more flexibility – for security and beyond

AXIS TW1201 Body Worn Mini Cube Sensor
The soon to be launched AXIS TW1201 Body Worn Mini Cube Sensor.

While the main AXIS W100 Body Worn Camera is suitable for the majority of applications, further flexibility comes through the addition of other video sensor formats. A mini bullet sensor is one available option, which attaches to AXIS W100 and is ideal for mounting on helmets or caps for officers patrolling, for instance, on bikes or horseback. With the soon to be launched AXIS TW1201 Body Worn Mini Cube Sensor, the potential applications for body worn cameras are transformed.

The small form factor and weight of the new sensor and mount (together they weigh a shade over 50g) means that the sensor can be placed unobtrusively and even integrated into name badges or other items of clothing or staff uniforms. The sensor’s diminutive size does not mean a lack of power, however, as it has the same performance as AXIS W100 Body Worn Camera, delivering Full HD resolution images at up to 30 frames-per-second.

The discreet nature of the new sensor means that body worn cameras become an attractive option for use cases beyond the traditional law enforcement and security applications. Sectors within which safety and security of employees is paramount – for example industrial plants, mining, and oil and gas processing – can use body worn cameras to ensure adherence to health and safety regulations. Retail, restaurants and hospitality might consider using body worn cameras as an aid to employee training, or to assist in investigating customer complaints. The use cases are endless.

An opportunity for our partners

Many Axis partners – particularly those already engaged with law enforcement organizations and security firms – have enthusiastically adopted the Axis body worn camera system as part of their offering. As outlined above, however, body worn cameras are of significant value in sectors beyond those which might have traditionally considered the technology.

With this comes significant opportunity for a far greater number of Axis partners. Ultimately, and returning to the original ‘flexibility’ at the heart of the Axis body worn camera design, the open platform philosophy makes body worn a seamless addition to an existing surveillance solution.

Is it time for you to take a close look at body worn?
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