Helium sees blue skies with weather, smart city IoT solutions

Helium Foundation announced that WeatherXM, QNECTD and KitchenOS are using the Helium network to power their IoT solutions.

According to Helium, these companies are the latest to select the Helium Network’s community-powered decentralized wireless (DeWi) network, one that uses blockchain technology and crypto-economics to deliver LoRaWAN connectivity.

“The permissionless, ubiquitous, and affordable nature of the Helium Network has lowered the barriers to entry, empowering more businesses to benefit from IoT solutions and the products they enable,” said Helium Foundation CEO Abhay Kumar in a statement. “We are thrilled to see continued ecosystem growth with impactful IoT solutions developed by companies like QNECTD, KitchenOS, and WeatherXM. The Helium Foundation is proud to work alongside them to bring more usage to the Helium Network.”

The way WeatherXM describes its business sounds similar to how Helium itself works. WeatherXM is building a community-owned weather network, with more than 3,500 weather stations deployed by individuals around the world. It also uses blockchain technology, leveraging token rewards to incentivize the creation of the weather network.

Manolis Nikiforakis, founder and CEO of WeatherXM based in Athens, Greece, explained in a press release that by leveraging the Helium network and latest IoT hardware, WeatherXM has developed a series of web3-enabled weather stations that provide agricultural and other weather-sensitive industries hyper-local weather forecasts, as well as cryptographic proofs on weather conditions. That’s particularly important in emerging markets that lack weather monitoring infrastructure as it enables multiple other businesses to flourish, like parametric weather insurance, he said.  

The team at QNECTD, which is based in Bulgaria, uses Helium to deliver IoT solutions to areas that were previously inaccessible due to lack of wireless infrastructure. The company recently launched a “What Do You Breathe?” campaign to raise awareness about indoor air quality issues in elementary schools; its IoT solutions also include water level monitoring, smart city lights and sanitation management.

KitchenOS is a food safety solutions provider based in the U.K. that leverages sensor-powered technology to monitor the temperature of food items. It uses real-time temperature monitoring powered by Helium so customers know that their food and produce are safe to consume, with the idea being to minimize food waste and spoilage. According to the company, it’s able to provide accurate and reliable data to more than 100 businesses across the U.K., Austria, Malta and the U.S. thanks to Helium.

The ‘People’s Network’

Helium Foundation COO Scott Sigel said the Helium Network is known as “the People’s Network” because it’s owned and operated by everyday people. Anyone can host a hotspot, whether it’s an individual, business or enterprise. Those who wish to participate in building the Helium Network can purchase a Helium-compatible hotspot from any of the 20+ community-approved manufacturers listed on the Helium website.

As a rule of thumb, the nonprofit organization doesn’t discuss rewards, i.e., how much someone could earn through the Helium system because a lot of factors go into how much a hotspot host earns beyond the fluctuating token price, according to Sigel. More details are available here.

As for whether most participants provide more than one hotspot, Sigel said that according to what participants have shared on Discord and other community vendues, it varies. Some people deploy just one, while others deploy large fleets. There also are cases where a business might fill in gaps with multiple hotspots based on commercial needs.

He also noted that in under four years, the Helium Network has become the fastest-growing wireless network and the largest LoRaWAN network worldwide – without building a single cell tower. 

“When the network launched in 2019, no one could’ve predicted the breadth and volume of innovative solutions that would’ve emerged as a result of having a global, open-sourced, community-built network,” he told Fierce. “Every day we’re seeing new exciting ways people are using the network – from monitoring predators in Africa to sustainable pest control in the U.S., to monitoring air quality in schools in Bulgaria. We truly believe that the best is yet to come and users like WeatherXM, QNECTD and KitchenOS are validation of the value of global, community-built wireless networks.”