TAGS: VIEVU, POLICE BODY-CAMERAS, MONOPOLY
Bloomberg, by Melissa Mittelman
Body camera upstart Vievu LLC is poised to win a contract to supply the Phoenix police department with video cameras, beating out Arizona’s homegrown industry giant Taser International Inc.
A city committee recommended offering Seattle-based Vievu a contract for the wearable cameras, according to a public notice dated Sept. 20. The company scored the highest among criteria including “method of approach” and “experience and qualifications,” the five-person panel concluded.
The decision is the latest blow to Taser, based in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona. It has seen its market dominance wane as more companies join the race to supply video cameras to municipal police forces. Taser’s stock slid 15 percent Monday after Vievu, acquired last year by closely held Safariland Group, sealed a contract with the New York Police Department.
“We still believe that no other vendor offers a better return on investment,” Sydney Siegmeth, a spokeswoman for Taser, wrote in an e-mail. “Our product suite is better than ever, and our company is well-positioned to compete in all future Major City procurements.”
Jonathan Howard, a Phoenix police official, and Vievu declined to comment.
Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a think tank, views the contract as a warning sign for Taser and one he hopes will spur advances in the technology.
“Just because you’re leading the pack right now does not mean that right around the corner, your competitors aren’t going to pass you up,” he said. “Taser is a very innovative company and they’ll respond well to competition, and that’s good for the market.”