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Here's Why Police Body-Camera Maker TASER Changed Its Name

Benjamin Rains

Police body-camera maker TASER International, Inc. TASR announced Wednesday that effective Thursday, it will change its name to Axon Enterprise Inc. (AAXN). In a separate move to encourage clients to pay for more of the company’s software offerings, Taser is set to offer free products to police departments around the U.S.

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based non-lethal weapons maker is offering to outfit every police officer in the U.S. with the company’s Axon body cameras free of charge for one year. But there is a catch: If a police department damages or decides to keep the cameras, they'll have to pay full price.

The name change comes as the long-time maker of electrically charged stun guns, used to temporarily incapacitate a person, as well as other law enforcement and self-defense products, tries to transition into a multi-purpose company with a huge software component.

Taser’s stock is up 0.46% to $22 per share in after-hours trading Wednesday, after being up 6% in intraday trading. TASER is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Body-cameras have been both in-demand and in the news a lot lately, due to the litany of high profile police shootings. But Taser hopes that by giving out body-cameras and some other services for free, police departments will sign up for the company’s newer software offerings.

But a bulk of Taser’s revenue still comes from its traditional taser gun and camera business.

Almost a quarter of Taser's revenue now comes from its software segment—which the company only really started to sell in 2012. Taser's subscription-based Evidence.com, which typically runs on five-year contracts, helps police departments manage video and other evidence.

The company recently acquired artificial intelligence start-up Dextro in order to help police search and redact footage. Taser also hopes to build an Artificial Intelligence division.

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