Helium in focus, will it revolutionize the telecommunication market?

Helium in focus, will it revolutionize the telecommunication market?

By Austras | Crypto in focus | 23 Nov 2021


For several years the scene for devices wanting to reach and send their data for different purposed has been lack lustered. It's expensive and the coverage outside major cities is poor. Helium aims to fix this by building a decentralized network of hotspots that developers can make use of. But how good is this idea and does it work?

Background

The Helium network went live on the first of August of 2019, there was zero coins minted ahead of time. The company behind it is located in San Francisco but the first nodes going live was in the city of Austin Texas, during the first month the network already reached 1250 active hotspot nodes, not their validator nodes. The network spans the globe today with 341.000 active hot spots at the time of writing, most of which being in the United States, Europe and China. A big draw for the network was that thanks to their network model they were able to undercut Verizon's pricing by 99%.

Hotspots active today

The creators of Helium are Shawn Fanning, Amir Haleem and Sean Carey, who began development of Helium in 2013. Their goal was to allow for a robust system that IoT devices could utilize for gathering data and expanding their products. First few years of the network will have its focus on the nodes until rewards and focus shift over to the data transfers. The network has had a good run running into very few issues, there was a bug that caused block production to halt for 23 minutes, but that's generally the extent of issues.

Network

The network is built up on two parts, the nodes that is collecting and sending data & the nodes that handle the transactions on the network. The validator nodes function using a standard Proof-of-Stake method where users can stake their HNT to nodes to help provide scalability and security for the network.

The data portion of the network functions on a Proof-of-Work-like consensus method where the hotspots work to validate each other's ability to provide coverage. They do this by periodically checking and sending data to each other and get scores between 0.00-1.00 depending on the quality and reach of the coverage. Hosting a hotspot gives you HNT as returns, which depend on your range, availability and the amount of data you process, normally this reaches 50GB/month.

For developers that wish to use the network to reach all the different devices that send their data they can do so by paying a fee in HNT. Well, not HNT directly. HNT can be burned for data credits which is a non-fungible token that is used for sending and receiving data, this fee of course being lower by around 99% in comparison for the same service from Verizon.

Use cases

As stated previously, there are two parts to the network, hosting hotspots and earning rewards and using the network to develop IoT devices and apps. In comparison the nodes are very cheap unlike most other PoW blockchains. You can get a good reward for a cheap GPU rig, but it requires you to be fairly active and keeping an eye on the miner, Helium is a whole lot more lightweight. You set up a hotspot and make sure it has internet access and then you let it run. These are built by verified manufacturers and range between $400-$500, simply place it as high as you can and let it run.

Users will also help provide developers with their data if they use IoT devices. These can be things such as simple as dog collars that send their location data to nearby hotspots to determine their location. If you hold the coin, you can stake it to a validator node and earn passive income without investing in a miner. 

Helium today

Helium is growing by the day, it has a growing list of partnerships and companies that use the network. You can check the live map for coverage and even check nearby nodes close to you to see how much they earn, a very easy tool to tell if it's worth slowing down your internet a little for some money. There are plenty of competitors in the IoT scene and Helium is a growing contender.

Pros:
  • Easy to run miners for good reward
  • Strong network with very good coverage
  • Scalable and secure
Cons:
  • Only approved manufactured nodes accepted
  • Competing with very large corporations 

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Austras
Austras

Product manager & tutor, love learning & teaching others. || https://cointr.ee/dorfel


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