WatchGuard Video Issues Response to Taser/Axon’s Free Offer and Industry-Wide Competitor Challenge

April 11, 2017

WatchGuard Video, the market leader in video evidence systems for law enforcement has issued the following response to the recent offer of free body cameras by Axon Industries (AAXN), formerly Taser International (TASR), and their challenge to other competitors in the body camera space.

“WatchGuard believes that companies who serve the law enforcement community should be held to a high standard of ethics, and the standard for companies that manage criminal evidence should be even higher. The “Free Offer” promoted by Taser®/Axon® (AAXN) last week for law enforcement agencies, in our opinion, represents their latest maneuver to avoid the competitive bid process and a mechanism to logistically force agencies into a costly, long-term® subscription. Agencies that accept the offer will discover firsthand, at the end of the trial period, the only option to retain searchable access to their evidence is through a paid subscription that can cost 10 times as much as the plastic Axon camera.

In our opinion, the offer is a trap, not a trial. The offer made by Taser for a “one year free trial” of their body camera and storage is a trap, not a trial. Taser knows that once law enforcement agencies use their camera, it will capture video that will become case evidence. This case evidence will be subject to various retention requirements which can last for up to seven years. The trap is that Taser provides no option for agencies to manage this evidence outside of their paid subscription service.

In our opinion, there are significant “gotchas”. Unlike nearly every other vendor in the industry, Taser does not offer evidence management software that can run on computers that are on-premise or on another cloud service. Other companies in the industry such as WatchGuard Video, L3/Mobile-Vision®, and VieVu® all provide agencies with the ability to continue to use a version of their evidence management software, without cost, for the long-term management of the evidence if the agency discontinues utilizing the vendor’s hardware. Taser does not offer any database program for agencies to manage, or even retain a basic search capability for their evidence outside of their paid subscription service. The software purposely provides no database export, only a raw file export. We believe this “gotcha” is the explicit design and intent of this thinly veiled trap.

In our opinion, nothing is “Free” and this offer is no exception. This “free” offer from Taser appears as another attempt at avoiding the competitive procurement process. The administrators who believe this is a no-cost agreement and contend that it should not be subject to the competitive bid process, will be the same administrators who, in one year, will have to convince their city to budget and fund an subscription for the long-term management of the collected evidence.

Our response to Taser’s competitor challenge is with an offer of a different kind. WatchGuard Video urges all law enforcement agencies to consider the quality of the equipment, the ethics of the vendor and the real cost of ownership with any technology purchase. WatchGuard Video promises that the total three-year cost of ownership for a complete deployment of VISTA® HD body worn cameras with Evidence Library 4 Web software will be less than the total cost of ownership of a comparable deployment with Axon cameras and software, even if the first year from Taser is without charge. WatchGuard challenges all U.S. law enforcement agencies considering Taser’s offer to conduct a fair, three-year total cost-of-ownership comparison. If the three-year deployment proposal from WatchGuard Video is not less than a comparable three-year deployment proposal from Taser, WatchGuard Video will give the city 25 VISTA cameras with a perpetual, no cost license to evidence management software.”


AXON, Taser and are trademarks of Axon Enterprise, Inc., some of which are registered in the US and other countries.