TASER International Inc. TASR has acquired one company -- Dextro, Inc. -- and one team from Fossil Group FOSL -- the computer vision team that was part of Fossil's acquisition of Misfit, Inc. These purchases have been made with the intention to launch a new artificial intelligence group, Axon A.I. Financial terms of the deal were kept under wraps.
Reason Behind the Acquisitions
Growing demand for AXON body cameras reflect law enforcement agencies’ shift in focus toward accountability and trust. Thus, with increasing tensions between law enforcement officials and the public, demand for TASER’s products and services have seen a dramatic rise in the recent times. The police departments of major cities like Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York are now deploying Axon Body cameras on their officers.
The company aims to render law enforcement agencies a distinct transparency through the deployment of body cameras. Also it intends to produce actionable feedback to enhance performance of the officers.
But the difficulty that the agencies are facing is the loads of data that are being produced by these cameras daily. This is because the police departments are incapable of managing the data proficiently. Herein, TASER came to its aid with the acquisition of these two companies that specialize in computer- and machine-vision. The company expects to develop a platform that can proficiently dissect this huge data immediately.
A Brief Note on Axon AI
The Axon AI group will comprise the newly acquired technologies along with a team of about 20 researchers and engineers, who will work to develop the new AI-powered capabilities for public safety and law enforcement.
On one hand Dextro, the first computer-vision and deep learning system, which enables the visual contents in video searchable in real time, will serve as the technology backbone of the Axon A.I. platform. On the other hand, the computer vision team from Fossil will provide support to Dextro's search capability by increasing the accuracy, competence and pace of processing images and videos.
These acquisitions will jointly expand TASER's industry-leading DEMS (Digital Evidence Management System) that allows customers to get additional insight from video, photos and audio. Additionally, it will improve training, operations and community engagement. Axon AI will give agencies the capability to segregate and scrutinize the most significant seconds of footage from the loads of data.
Axon A.I. is an addition to TASER’s Axon network, which includes its body-worn cameras and Evidence.com digital evidence management system and handles over 5.2 petabytes of customer data from over 50% of the U.S.'s major city police agencies. It will also improve the company's research and development efforts and considerably develop the potential of the Axon network.
TASER specializes in less lethal, conducted energy weapons primarily meant for law enforcement and corrections. The advanced TASER weapon offers better performance than other less lethal options used for this purpose. As a result, the company is now leading the body camera segment.
However, TASER has recently been facing choppy market conditions due to stiff competition in the industry and cyclical sales of its products.
TASER International has outperformed the Zacks categorized Protection-Safety Equipment and Service industry. The company’s current rate of return is 74.4%, compared with the industry’s average of 28.5% over the last 12 months.
TASER's high-quality smart weapons enjoy robust demand as law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are increasingly opting for such devices to strengthen their existing infrastructure. The company has also gained a handful of international customers, thanks to the quality and ease of use of its products, which in turn is driving its performance. The stock’s performance is in line with that of Alarm.com Holdings, Inc. ALRM and Ascent Capital Group, Inc. ASCMA, which also surpassed the industry mark.
TASER currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Stong Buy) stocks here.
(We are reissuing this article to correct a mistake. The original article, issued February 10, 2017 and which mistakenly said TASER had purchased Misfit, Inc., should no longer be relied upon.)
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