Could Smartphones Takeover from Body-Worn Cameras in Video Recording for the Police?

Introduction

Recently, the Jersey City Police Department completed testing the CopCast mobile app video recording app becoming the first department in the United States to use the technology.

CopCast is a mobile app that enables an Android smartphone to perform similar functions as a dedicated body-worn camera, such as Taser’s AXOM, VIEVU’s LE5 and Pinnacle Response’s PR6.

A police officer can simply attach a standard smartphone in a harness to their person and achieve the same type of video footage quality, connectivity capabilities, data feedback metrics and battery performance.

Over the last few months, the Jersey police force tested the mobile app with 10 officers.

More about Copcast

Copcast was initially designed by the Igarape Instituté in 2013. The open source Android mobile app has been used by a number of police officers, primarily in South Africa and Brazil.

The principle pillar of the technology, worked on in collaboration with Jigsaw and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), is to enable an alternative low-cost solution to conventional body-worn cameras and software.

In Valour Consultancy’s report on enterprise body-worn camera deployment, we could see the potential for tens of thousands of smartphone-based recording solutions used in the policing and law enforcement.

Implications

CopCast is not the only smartphone-based solution available for enterprise body-worn video. Utility, a US-based company, also offers a similar solution albeit with the smartphone, harness, and garments included.

With the mass adoption of smartphones in the last five years, these devices have all the capabilities of a body-worn camera – image and audio sensors, memory drive, and array of connectivity components – but at a much lower cost. In some cases, a smartphone could cost less than $50 to the manufacturer, rather than around $100-200 or even more.

Additionally, live streaming of video and GPS coordinates of a smartphone/user are already commonly used by many consumer applications.

Could this new solution pose much worry to companies such as Taser, Edesix and VIEVU?

The emergence of a much lower cost recording solution, with similar capabilities to dedicated offers, is obviously a concern for body-worn camera vendors.

Nonetheless, one of the most critical aspects of the market is the recording and storage software that manages the video footage recordings, and the most commercially lucrative element of the ecosystem.

Among a host of security companies, Taser has expanded its evidence.com solution (video management system) extensively in the last two years.

CopCast provides a basic free version of the app for managing and storing footage, but it is sensible to assume this is rather limited in data footage, and its capabilities. We are unsure on the features included a premium version and what features are included, and will look into this in future blogs.

It is reported that Jersey City Police Department will equip up to 250 police officers with CopCast’s smartphone solution in the future.

One of the most desirable attributes of the app is that it can be continually revised and developed further to cater for the Jersey police department’s changing requirements.

Ultimately, CopCast, as the CEO of Jigsaw, Jared Cohen, states, will help lower the barriers to entry and reduce the costs of body-worn camera systems, improving police accountability and enhancing trust with citizens and law enforcement officers.

We can only wait and see if smartphones will challenge body-worn cameras in policing but this is a win-win situation for the us, the public.

Valour Consultancy offers a comprehensive overview of the body-worn camera and system market, providing market breakouts of body-worn camera types, connectivity technology and key applications.

Additionally, company profiles are provided for all the key players in the market. For information on the enterprise body-worn camera and system market, click here.

Leave A Comment