Citing a consolidating market, police body camera manufacturer Wolfcom of Hollywood has merged with competitor HD Protech of Houston.
The new company will be called Wolfcom. It will have 19 employees and be headquartered in Hollywood.
The merger was necessary because Wolfcom was without video management software when its former vendor MediaSolv was acquired by rival Taser for $13 million last week, said founder Peter Austin Onruang. Taser, which also makes body cameras, will not allow MediaSolv to sell to outside companies.
Demand for police body cameras has rocketed in recent years after a spate of controversial encounters between police and citizens. In December, President Obama announced $263 million in federal funding for local law enforcement agencies to purchase 50,000 body cameras.
In light of that demand, Wolfcom sold 10,000 body cameras last year and revenue has grown 468 percent over the past three years, said Onruang.
Now with HD Protech in the fold, Wolfcom is looking to take advantage of Protech’s video management system, which stores video recordings and helps police officers organize evidence after patrols.
“What they bring to the game is the very thing we always wanted: engineers, programmers… and software,” said Onruang.
Closer collaboration between hardware and software development should help to make a more appealing product pairing, he said. It will also be useful for winning sometimes skeptical customers.
“The IT people of the police departments are really the ones that pick you apart,” Onruang said.