Could Police Brutality Drive Enterprise Wearable Camera Market

Wearable camera annual revenues are projected to reach $4.4 billion by the end of 2015, a 22% increase Year-on-Year (YoY). Demand for hands-free point of view recording continues to grow in popularity, and digital evidence recordings are also becoming increasing sought after in many key enterprise markets such as the police. The wearable camera market remains one of the largest segments of the overall “wearables” market and is projected to continue to grow strongly over the next five years.

The attractiveness of wearable cameras in the consumer market can be attributed to several factors: hands-free point of view recording, increasing amounts of leisure time, a growing number of people undertaking extreme activities and adventures, and widespread ownership of smartphones with integrated cameras. This, in turn, has led to pattern of regular picture and video taking and photo-sharing on social media platforms.

GoPro, the world’s largest supplier of hands-free cameras, generated revenues of US$1.4 billion in CY2014 – it should be noted this includes other services and accessory sales. The wearable camera market is becoming ever more lucrative, and annual device sales are projected to continue to grow as camera prices decline and become more accessible to lower income consumers. Thus far, North America remains the biggest market for consumer wearable cameras, particularly for top-line cameras, but Asia-Pacific is projected to skyrocket in the coming years. An expanding middle-class population in countries like China and India is one of the main reasons for this and companies like Xiaomi will likely make more and more impact with their products.

Another interesting facet is the growing interest in lifelogging wearable cameras. Rather than using wearable cameras for creating a diary photo album of people’s lives, discrete and compact cameras are being used to record special events like weddings, parties or festivals. A host of new start-up technology companies have released various products with varying success. However if industry rumours are to be believed, GoPro will be introducing a new lifelogging camera in the next 12 months.

One of the most news grabbing elements of the wearable camera market is the adoption of the technology in some enterprise sectors, chiefly the police. An increasing number of amateur video footage is available of police officers abusing their authority and sometimes committing criminal acts, as in the case of Walter L. Scott being shot by a police officer several weeks ago. Many people believe wearable cameras could be the answers, making officers accountable for their interactions and actions with the public. It easy to place the biggest motivation for adopting wearable cameras on the previous reason, however, there are an array of other benefits wearable cameras offer the enterprise sector – digital recordings to back-up witness accounts, help train new recruits, provide video footage for remote monitoring and supervision, or deter potential criminals.

The enterprise wearable camera market is projected to almost treble in the next three years (see chart A), the police sector being the biggest user of wearable cameras in the enterprise market, expecting to account for around 58% of the global enterprise market between 2014 and 2017. Other emergency and civil services are the next largest application, followed by private and corporate security usage. All breakouts by key application are provided by unit shipments, revenues and ASPs in the Valour Consultancy’s in-depth report, “The Future of Wearable Cameras, HMDs & Smart Glasses – 2015 Edition”.

Bar Chart illustrating the growth of enterprise wearable cameras

Both the consumer and enterprise wearable camera markets are anticipated to continue growing strongly over the coming years, and some companies will record substantial financial success with the overall growth of the market.