Helium joins us today to talk about jumpstarting their new, nationwide IoT network.
This is a guest blog post by Mark Phillips, VP of Buisness Development at Helium. Helium was founded in 2013 by Shawn Fanning, Amir Haleem and Sean Carey, with a mission to make it easier to build connected devices.
Helium recently announced that the Helium Network is now the largest, public LoRaWAN network in the United States. On the heels of this, we wanted to properly (re)introduce the SparkFun Developer Community to the Helium Network, and put together a few tutorials to ensure you could quickly take advantage of Helium for IoT applications.
This post will be the first of several published with our friends and partners here at SparkFun. To follow this up, we’ll walk you through building an end-to-end application using Helium, AWS IoT, and the SparkFun Pro RF. But today we’re focusing on the high level pieces. So let’s dive in.
Helium was founded in 2013 with a mission that looks very similar to what we are doing now: providing developers and enterprises with a ubiquitous, public wireless network for IoT devices and data. Based on six years of experience, and thousands of pilots and customer engagements, we’ve arrived at an end-to-end network design that we believe solves the connectivity problem holding back the IoT space.
Beginning in August 2019, we deployed the first Hotspots in Austin, Texas (and, in parallel, brought the Helium blockchain online). In the seven short months since, the Helium Community has built the largest public LoRaWAN in the United States, with over 3,200 Hotspots online in all 50 states, capable of routing bi-directional sensor data for any device running LoRaWAN v.1.0.2.
To accomplish this explosive growth, we relied on three things:
On this foundation, we were able to offer a better LoRaWAN network, faster. And while Helium coverage continues to be built - soon with any LoRaWAN gateway (more on this coming) - we’re now switching our focus to onboarding developers and their devices.
“The ability to focus on innovation quickly in our devices knowing that the transit of messages is secure lets us continue to work on this effort without a large team. Helium provides the right mix of low power, high security, and robust coverage in urban locations that we'll need to grow this program further.” Jay Langust, Senior Application Architect at Salesforce
If you’re reading this, you’re likely one of the hundreds of thousands of developers, architects, CxOs and line-of-business executives that sees IoT and, increasingly, LoRaWAN as the solution to a sensor-based problem you have. The Helium Network, and the tooling and features we’re building, is designed to meet the needs of all of you.
Our goal is to bridge the gap, and deliver a platform that both satisfies things that enterprises need while also maintaining a deep commitment to building best-in-class developer tools. Some of what we’re working on (and have already released) includes:
Plus, nearly everything we do is open source under friendly licensing. We’re committed to being open and transparent, and if you want to contribute code or deploy some or all of the Helium Network on your own, we’re all for it.
In the next post, we’ll do a full walk through of onboarding a SparkFun Pro RF-based sensor to the Helium Network. Until then, here’s what you can do to get involved now: