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Motorola could offer facial recognition with police body cameras with WatchGuard acquisition


WatchGuard, a leading provider of police body cameras, has been acquired by Motorola Solutions, which already provides technology to police agencies around the U.S., further consolidating the body camera industry, GovTech reports.

Market leader Axon acquired competitor Vievu last year, around the time it was reported to be considering implementing artificial intelligence capabilities, possibly including facial recognition, in its products. Axon serves 20 of the 25 largest municipal police departments in the U.S., while WatchGuard supplies Houston and Detroit police.

Motorola already offers a line of police body cameras, but does not have major U.S. forces among its customers. Earlier this year, however, Motorola acquired Vigilant Solutions, which provides license plate readers, including devices with facial recognition which were deployed by a municipal police department in New Jersey. In other words, a Motorola subsidiary already supplies police with facial recognition technology. Avigilon is a Motorola subsidiary which provides facial biometrics among the capabilities of its video analysis software.

Axon has committed to not adding facial recognition to its police body cameras, recently declaring the technology not yet ready.

WatchGuard makes the Vista body camera, along with in-car cameras and related cloud storage services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but regulatory filings indicate a price above $13.8 million.

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