Axon becomes first vendor in AT&T’s FirstNet-embedded program with body-worn camera
Public-safety agencies will be able use the FirstNet broadband system to stream video from officers’ Axon Body 3 body-worn cameras, which are the first devices to include embedded FirstNet connectivity in their solution, according to AT&T.
As a member of the FirstNet-embedded program, Axon is able to sell FirstNet connectivity to public-safety agencies as part of its overall product offering, so there is no need for agencies to subscribe separately to FirstNet. Axon will be able to utilize the FirstNet eligibility process—this offering is targeted to “primary” FirstNet users—sell FirstNet service and provide FirstNet SIM cards in the devices, according to Scott Agnew, AT&T’s assistant vice president of product marketing for the public sector.
The FirstNet-embedded program is designed to streamline the FirstNet subscription process and provide new avenues for promoting use of the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN), Agnew said.
“The [FirstNet-embedded] model is unique, where the distribution point is going to be the Axons of the world, who have a great distribution model, who have great relationships with public safety, and the product just makes sense to bundle in FirstNet as an embedded solution,” Agnew said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We don’t change that product structure at all—how public safety is used to consuming it—but we provide the priority, we provide the preemption and we provide the value of what FirstNet is bringing to the table.
“So, you get a great device from Axon and you get the power of FirstNet network, which is going to ensure high availability and throughput to ensure that public safety can do their job.”
Axon is the initial FirstNet-embedded partner and is exemplary of the type of company that will be part of the new program, Agnew said.
“To be part of the embedded program, the OEM such as Axon has to be an expert in public safety, have a proven roadmap in public safety, and be able to deliver on security requirements,” he said.
“[Axon is] definitely a leader in the industry, with a strong public-safety heritage and a strong roadmap, so they were of great interest. And, they are one of the first companies that came willing. With their distribution model and the power of the FirstNet network, it made sense—it’s like when you combine two companies together to develop a great product. I think both companies saw that it made a lot of sense.”
Axon CEO and founder Rick Smith echoed this sentiment.
“FirstNet connectivity is a crucial component of the Axon Body 3—our next-generation body-worn camera,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “It’ll allow the device to stay connected in the field allowing officers to take advantage of the camera’s near real-time situational awareness features such as gunshot detection, voice transcription and priority wireless evidence offload—ultimately helping to increase officer safety.”
Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T-FirstNet, said that he believes having Axon as a FirstNet-embedded partner will be beneficial to first responders.
“The more we can connect public safety to the FirstNet network platform, the more we can help protect the men and women that dedicate their lives to keeping us safe,” Sambar said in a prepared statement. “That’s why having public-safety-focused companies like Axon directly connecting the public safety community to FirstNet is such a critical next step.
“Combining FirstNet’s reliable connectivity with the Axon Body 3 will help law-enforcement officers capture and relay critical events back as they happen without having to worry if they’re in range of their vehicle’s Wi-Fi system or waiting to dock the device.”
Agnew said that AT&T expects to announce several other vendors as participants in the FirstNet-embedded program during the upcoming months.