A Camera in the Sensor System. New Solutions For the Uniformed Services

3 kwietnia 2019, 13:09
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Photo: Axon.com.

Axon company, known for manufacturing non-lethal weapons such as Taser, is developing its potential in new areas related to equipment designed for the uniformed services. UMO company based in Warsaw is the Polish distributer of these products. The Polish entity is offering a system that fuses Axon Body 2 cameras with sensors installed on weapons or on the Taser systems, or even integrated on vehicles.

The cameras have become quite common among the uniformed services all around the world. However, effective use still has its roots in proper simplification of application for the user, so that the officer does not really need to worry about operating the cam when undertaking relevant activities. The above also pertains to data processing associated with daily use of body-worn cameras. Considering the requirements above, it is worth to acknowledge the system offered by the Axon company. In Poland its products are sold by the Warsaw-based UMO Sp. z o. o. entity. On one hand the company offers the Axon Body 2 camera with intuitive design, on the other, the camera is a part of a larger system that enhances the user experience and the process of transferring and processing the data for the recipient.

Noteworthy, the above approach is quite interesting as it does not focus solely on providing the law enforcement with the equipment in question. Axon tries to stay one step ahead, addressing the potential problems emerging when using solutions as such on a daily basis. The body-worn cameras became popular among the law enforcement in the context of extreme circumstances. They shall be treated on par with the means of physical coercion for instance.

Photo: Axon.com.
Photo: Axon.com.

Axon’s system is based around its core, the Axon Body 2 camera. When it comes to handling of the system, the camera makes it possible for the user to quickly turn it on, easily enable the intervention mode or check the battery charge. The user may also enable timeline tagging within the material captured or pair the system with other devices, iOS or Android mobile devices included. Therefore the user may also download the GPS data from another device.

Axon Body 2 is lightweight and thus comfortable to wear on various elements of uniforms or tactical vests. It may even be attached to a shirt. The user has a broad range of Rapidlock mounts available, that make the camera attachment process quicker. For instance, two attachments are dedicated  for shirts - the manufacturer offers two models that can  be used, depending on the pocket depth. Cameras belonging to this series may also be attached with the use of magnets or the MOLLE system, with the use of a clip on attachment.

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Photo: Axon.com.

Axon Body 2 systems are distributed in Poland by the UMO Sp. z o.o. company and they have been designed to withstand the most important threats that may be associated with daily use of equipment as such. The list includes shock and environmental factors, immersion in liquid included. Axon Body 2 can withstand a fall from more than 6 feet, onto a hardened surface, concrete for instance. Time of operation is an important advantage - we are speaking of 12 to 14 hours of continuous recording, using the battery provided. One should note that the recordings are of HD 1080 quality. The camera can store up to 70 hours of footage, depending on the resolution though. Axon cam also has a wide field of view - 143 degrees. One should note that it takes 6 hours to fully charge the battery afterwards.

Turning the equipment on is easy and problem-free. In normal use Axon Body 2 records data in 120 seconds intervals, and then it overwrites it. However, if intervention mode is activated and video is recorded continuously, with audio, the camera autonomously adds so called buffer - the preceding 120 seconds. Thanks to the above, one obtains data that has been recorded before activating the intervention mode.

The kit is a part of a sensor system with the data sources installed on vehicles, guns or on Taser devices. When intervention begins (using signals on the vehicle, drawing the Taser or the gun, Axon Body 2 can automatically start recording. This is possible thanks to use of sensors based on Axon Signal system placed in a gun holster for instance. One needs to stress that placing the gun in a holster does not turn off the recording process. This happens solely and exclusively after a relevant decision is made by the officer. Axon Signal technology implemented on the Taser systems is activated by the new SPPM (Signal Power Performance Magazine) battery.

Whereas the system created by Axon, featuring the Axon Body 2 camera and the intervention mode sensors (Axon Signal), makes it possible to activate all cameras within a 15 meters radius, in case of all officers using the Axon devices. This happens autonomously, without any pairing procedures involved beforehand. Thus, one may obtain a much broader situational picture with regards to the given event, also being sure that one unit using Axon Body 2 cameras and Axon kit would become a single sensor.

Axon solutions offered by UMO Sp. z o. o. step beyond the realm of cameras and sensors alone. They also include recordings download and management suite. The more cameras are involved in the given element, the greater the challenge this poses, both for the hardware, as well as for the personnel. Axon offers modular docking units for the Axon Body 2 cameras that, thanks to their design, may have an expanded scope of use, depending on the user requirements. The docking stations are used to download the footage. They are also used to update the firmware. When downloaded, the recordings are tagged. This is done to make the post-action review and analysis more efficient and easier.

Data processing is carried out with the use of the Axon Commander application. As the manufacturer suggests, it is a locally launched solution that consolidates all of digital evidence in a single location. At the same time the app also provides the user with access to evidence, allowing him/her to manage the files. The application features expansive filtering and search mechanisms, also taking care of disk space and security standards. Axon Commander makes it possible to create different data access levels as well. This makes it more difficult to tamper the data stored within the system. One may also easily check whether the recordings downloaded via the docking unit have been changed or modified in any way.

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Photo: Axon.com.

Axon cameras are a solution used, inter alia, in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany as well as Scandinavian countries. Efforts are ongoing to connect them with applications that enhance their efficiency both during the everyday duties of the officers and during the subsequent analyses. This is why the Axon Commander application is being developed, enabling to use evidence search mechanisms based on various criteria such as the camera user, date and time of the recording, the place and source of the recording etc.

To summarise, we shall note that the body cameras have already entered the service both in police forces and in private security sector not just around the world, but also in Poland. The use of those allows on one hand to gather the necessary evidence. On the other hand, it permits a subsequent analysis of the behavior of the officers or security guards should they need to intervene. The pure fact that the cameras are being used makes it also easier to reach conclusions in case of a dispute between citizens and officers. However, the efficiency of sisimilar solutions depends not only on the sole cameras' specifications, but also on the scope of their cooperations with other sensors and data processing systems. Without doubt, the cameras are the future of the uniformed services all around the world and there is no need to convince anyone that they are indeed the future.

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