Yes to security, but what about my privacy?

Business is booming in the bodycam industry. Police forces across the United States are equipping more of their officers with cameras to gather more information out in the field. But with all that footage comes a tsunami of data that’s becoming increasingly difficult to sift through.

AI to the rescue

Taser International, one of the largest manufacturers of police bodycams, wants to bring some of the latest artificial intelligence techniques to make sense of all that footage. On Thursday, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company said it’s making two acquisitions to up its game in the area. Taser is acquiring Dextro, a startup developing image recognition algorithms for video, and the computer vision team part of Fossil Group-owned Misfit. Taser didn’t reveal financial terms of the two acquisitions. The acquisitions will bring around 20 employees into Taser to form a new group called Axon AI. The group will develop services that will give police departments the ability to automatically categorize and analyze the video coming in and make it all searchable. The new AI service will be offered alongside Taser’s cloud storage service,

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“Police are drowning in pools of footage that’s supposed to be helping them,” said Dextro cofounder and CEO David Luan in an interview. “It’s an incredible challenge dealing with that amount of data.” Taser said it has more than 5.2 petabytes of video data stored on its servers. With the acquisition of New York-based startup Dextro, Taser is getting talent familiar with some of the hottest AI techniques. Founded in 2013, Dextro uses a branch of AI called deep learning — also known as deep neural nets — that mimic the structure of the brain to recognize patterns in data. Deep learning has taken the entire tech industry by storm and is showing unprecedented accuracy in areas likes image and speech recognition. Dextro had raised only a small seed round of $1.7 million before the acquisition, but had started working with customers like and some police forces to analyze their video data. Acquisition talks between Taser and Dextro started after the two companies met each other at a roundtable on the topic of police bodycams, Luan said […]