This week, Taser filed a pair of lawsuits claiming that the body cameras of competitor Vievu are defective. The complaints allege that its upstart rival’s cameras can lose about 5 frames per minute. The suits come two weeks after Vievu sued Taser on the claim that the company had illegally lobbied officials in the city of Phoenix to abandon a $3.6 million camera contract that Vievu had recently won.
The body-camera war has also included skirmishes in New York City, where Vievu’s win of a $6.4 million body camera contract sparked similar accusations about the quality of its products and a fierce lobbying campaign by Taser. Last month, amid questions over the contract, the tussle led Mayor Bill de Blasio to complain of a “smear” campaign against Vievu.
In a statement to Fast Company in response to Taser’s new lawsuits, John Collins, a Vievu spokesman, said the company “believes in its cameras and technology, and looks forward to a full discovery process in which the public can see Taser’s underhanded tactics in full view.”
Taser, the market leader, has denied any wrongdoing, insisting that its cameras are simply superior to its rivals. And as it develops its software and cloud storage ecosystem for video, the company is also determined to be known as an innovator. As CEO and cofounder Rick Smith explained to me, the technology vision is much bigger than hardware: The coming generation of cameras will be bolstered by live-streaming, object and face recognition, and artificial intelligence.