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TASER International unveils upgraded Axon Flex BWC system at IACP 2016

All the capabilities of the Axon Body 2 are now available in the Flex form factor, which is preferred by officers who appreciate the capability to place the camera in a variety of places on their body


Photo/TASER International

In the days leading up to IACP 2016 in San Diego, TASER International made a splash with the announcement of the Axon Flex 2 on-officer point-of-view video camera for law enforcement. The company press release indicated a number of improvements to the original Flex solution, including a host of advanced new mounting options, a solid, one-piece ruggedized polymer casing to protect the electronics, a significantly expanded field of view and configurable pre-event buffer settings.

Further, the new offering has automatic activation capabilities that can be coupled to the squad car’s emergency lights and sirens as well as the activation of a TASER ECD. When either of those technologies is deployed, the camera can be set to automatically turn on, with the preferred pre-event buffering activated.

In terms of design and performance, the company took all the capabilities of the Axon Body 2 offering and put them into the Flex form factor, which is preferred by agencies and officers that appreciate the capability to place the camera in a variety of places on the officer’s body (collar, hat or even sunglasses, for example).

The controller element of the new Flex offering is 20 percent smaller than its Flex 1 predecessor and looks very similar to the Body 2 system — the large, round activation switch at the center of the unit is easy to access and use even under stress. The only obvious difference is that there is no lens on the controller, as the Flex camera is a distinct component attached by wire to the controller.

For the end user, perhaps some of the most important upgrades included in the Flex 2 are the 1080p HD-quality video, dual-channel audio and an expanded 120-degree field of view. Further, the storage capability has shot from 8GB to 64GB and the record time has skyrocketd from 12 hours to as much as 70 hours.

In addition, the design is ruggedized for the wear and tear of being out on the street. TASER has addressed some of the end-user feedback about the mounting options, and while the design of the new mounts appear similar to earlier options, they are fully re-engineered to be more comfortable and durable for officers. They have also been altered in such a way that the mount actually wraps somewhat around the camera, decreasing the probability that the camera become dislodged during an incident.

TASER is working on a wireless offload capability, expected to be available sometime in 2017.

“Officers around the country have placed their trust in the Axon Flex camera since we launched it in 2012,” said TASER CEO and co-founder, Rick Smith in the company press release. “When it came time to innovate a new device, our guiding principle was a desire to continue improving the reliability and performance of this mission critical equipment. Hence, the refined mounting systems, the hardened durability, and the refined audio and video. We value the confidence that officers place in our equipment - and we are excited to take their performance to a new level with Axon Flex 2.”

“Ultimately, what this does is it really evolves the industry standard of our Flex 1 camera system,” said Matt Morstad, Group Product Manager for Axon Video Solutions, in a webinar announcing the new offering. “It brings it up to full feature parity connectivity just like our Body 2 platform, and then ultimately it provides additional usability to our customers so they can configure and customize to their needs.”

TASER will start initial shipments of the Axon Flex 2 in December 2016 with full production beginning in Q1 2017. For those attending IACP, the new solution can be seen in person at booth #2239 on the Expo floor. Visit TASER’s website for more information.

Doug Wyllie writes police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community. Doug was a co-founder of the Policing Matters podcast and a longtime co-host of the program.