Storytelling in the 21st century
How technology gets us to the truth, faster than ever
Our Inside Axon blog series is updated every Wednesday and features letters from executives within Axon. This week's post was written by Sydney Siegmeth, Axon's VP of Global Communications. Check again next week for more experiences and insight from Axon leaders.
As the role that technology plays in our everyday lives becomes greater, everything from ride-sharing to ordering a takeaway seems to get more convenient. Convenience, however, is not why these technologies exist. The hard work and innovation that led to the creation of cameras, phones and computers didn’t arise from a desire to save time and money; rather, they arose from a need to communicate, to spread information and to tell stories.
People latch on to stories because telling them is what makes us human. They help us better understand ourselves and those around us. As a communications professional at Axon, I have the privilege not to recite statistics and hardware specifications, but to share the stories that are important to our company – each one a chapter in a 20-year saga chronicling a simple mission to Protect Life. Each time this story is told, it reminds us where we’ve been and, most importantly, where we’re going.
Our story starts in an Arizona garage in 1993 where Rick and Tom Smith believed that they could create a less-lethal alternative to traditional firearms and save lives in the process. Within two decades, our iconic TASER Smart Weapons would be used by thousands of police officers worldwide. Today, they’ve saved more than 180,000 people from death or serious injury.
Since then, Axon has evolved into a connected network of apps, devices and people. I get excited about the possibilities it has for helping provide better evidence and easing the burden of police paperwork. But what most excites me is the way that this technology can make us better storytellers. Between our body-worn and in-car cameras, our Axon Signal camera activation technology and our mobile applications, we enable officers to capture every detail of the events that transpire on their shifts. Not only do we ensure that the relevant facts get recorded, but by increasing connectivity and ensuring that all related evidence is grouped together, we help to preserve a full, unbiased story of what happened.
As we transitioned from a weapons company to a technology company, I wondered how the meaning of our mission to Protect Life would evolve. What I’ve come to realise is that when people’s lives and careers hang in the balance of stories like these, there is nothing more important than providing the whole truth. Today, Protect Life doesn’t just mean preventing gun deaths. It also means that our connected technologies can tell a story that can help us comprehend contentious situations without having to resort to conjecture. And it means ensuring that a single strand of evidence doesn’t entirely decide someone’s fate – all of which makes this the most exciting chapter yet in the Axon story.