vievu1For the past six years, Seattle-based Vievu has helped more than 3,000 police agencies around the world with body-worn cameras that record what’s happening on the job.

But recently, Vievu founder Steve Ward saw a new business opportunity. Everyone from real estate agents to plumbers to bus drivers began asking Vievu to make cameras specifically for their respective jobs. Suddenly his realized how big his customer base could grow.

“Their reasoning is the same no matter what the profession — they need to protect themselves from the liability in their job,” explained Ward, a 15-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department. “Having a simple video to prove that they did the right thing is an easy way to protect themselves.”

vievu2Vievu’s response is an IndieGoGo campaign that launched a few weeks ago offering up a Vievu body-worn camera starting at $199. The small aluminum camera can stream and save real-time video to an iOS or Android device via the Vievu app and record up to 90 minutes of HD footage. 

Cameras attached to your body have been a hot item for the past few years, with GoPro being a leader in this space. But there are clear differences with Vievu’s product.

“GoPro is a great company that makes cameras for kids who want to record their sports activities and we admire them,” Ward said. “However, our cameras are for professionals who need a ruggedized and dependable camera to use at work to protect themselves from liability. Our cameras can be worn anywhere you choose, not just on a helmet like a GoPro.”

Though Ward did add that, due to its durability, the camera can appeal to outdoor athletes as well. That’s the target market for another Seattle company called Contour, which recently closed its Seattle headquarters — surprising many of its employees and leaving the future of the company unclear.

Vievu founder Steve Ward.
Vievu founder Steve Ward.

But Contour’s demise isn’t affecting how Ward thinks about his own company.

“Contour is in the same market as GoPro — outdoor adventurists,” he said. “That is not our focus.”

Video surveillance has also been a trendy topic recently, with the advent of Google Glass and people like the Creepy Cameraman. Ward made clear that Vievu, which was founded in 2007 and has 80 percent share of the law enforcement body-worn video market, is not a surveillance camera company. There are green rings around the lens of the cameras to notify people that they are being recorded.

“We don’t make cameras that are inconspicuous and our cameras are easily seen,” Ward said. “As a company suggestion, we advise all of our customers to announce to people that they are being recorded.”

Vievu wants to raise $100,000 by Oct. 18. Learn more about the camera here.

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  • Guest

    It’s great to see this. Never knew they were in Seattle. There have been reports that officers using force has dropped along with wearing these cameras. Some could say because the police are being watched, but the other side is that people tend to behave better when they know it’s being recorded. The need to prove in court over and over that a case was handled a certain way has been easier to prove now with actual video and audio of the events happening. It’s a win win. After talking to a friend of mine that’s a cop, he had a good point, even the top officials in office should be wearing these. Imagine all the good info you’d learn from the Mayor wearing one…..

  • cisshanu

    Police body cameras and body cameras are body worn and very easy to carry with. Police body cameras and body cameras are great safety tool to keep with while you are on duty.

  • discarted

    The story’s headline needs correcting because Vievu cameras have always been available to the public. They were also once sold on I’ve owned four of them and got my first one years ago to document the problems I was having while taking pictures in public.

  • Andrew

    I just got the Vievu2 camera. Using in daylight was Ok but while walking object passing by like people was not clear. Using the Vievu2 outdoors during night time was dark can’t really see to good. Also, during indoor use with 60 watt was still dark.
    So the Vievu2 was ok using in day light but no good during night and indoor use.

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