Helium Network & The Future Of LoRaWAN Technology

By sjbeachy64 | SteveBeachy | 10 Jun 2023

Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

The LoRa and LoRaWAN IoT Market is estimated at USD 5.6 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 25.5 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 35.3% from 2023 to 2028, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets™.

LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) is a wireless communication protocol specifically designed for low-power, wide-area networks (LPWANs).

The Helium Network has become the largest decentralized LoRaWAN network in the world. Nova Labs, the company behind Helium has become a $1.2 billion company with over 100 employees. It’s backed by Multicon Capital, GV (Google Ventures), Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global Management and FTX Ventures and numerous other prestigious investors.

Why is the Helium Network and LoRaWAN a viable solution ?

Long Range: LoRaWAN can provide long-range communication capabilities, allowing devices to transmit data in excess of 10 miles in open areas. This makes it suitable for applications that require wide coverage, such as smart cities, agriculture, and industrial monitoring.

Low Power Consumption: Devices operating on LoRaWAN can achieve extended battery life. The protocol uses low data rates and employs a power-efficient modulation scheme, enabling devices to operate on a single battery charge for years. This is particularly beneficial for applications where battery replacement or recharging is difficult or costly.

Scalability: LoRaWAN networks can accommodate a large number of devices, typically in the order of thousands or even millions. This scalability is essential for applications with a massive deployment of sensors or devices, such as smart metering, asset tracking, and environmental monitoring.

Cost-Effective: The low-power requirements and long-range capabilities of LoRaWAN reduce infrastructure costs. LoRaWAN gateways can cover a substantial area with a minimal number of gateways, resulting in cost savings during network deployment. Additionally, the low-cost LoRaWAN modules and sensors make it economical to incorporate this technology into various IoT devices.

Flexibility: LoRaWAN supports bi-directional communication, allowing devices to both send data to the network and receive commands or configuration updates from the network. This flexibility enables applications like remote control, firmware upgrades, and device reconfiguration, expanding the possibilities for IoT deployments.

Security: LoRaWAN incorporates various security mechanisms to protect data transmission and ensure the privacy of communications. It includes end-to-end encryption, authentication, and integrity checks, making it suitable for applications that handle sensitive or confidential information.

Interoperability: LoRaWAN is an open standard which allows different vendors and manufacturers to develop compatible devices and network infrastructure. This promotes interoperability and integration of devices from various sources into a LoRaWAN network.

Helium is building a wireless network with the potential to connect billions of compatible devices all around the world.

Helium’s protocol does not have any of the limitations and fees typically associated with cellular providers, like data caps or overage charges. It also does not require users to purchase hardware like a SIM card.

To start using the Helium Network, a user simply has to choose any LoRaWAN-compatible sensor, and onboard their devices using the Helium Console.

Some of the trends driving industry growth from the LoRa Alliance :

The growth of governmental regulations for monitoring to ensure safety, such as New York City’s requirements to monitor for gas leaks. Using LoRaWAN for real-time monitoring has accelerated shut off times by 6X, according to LoRa Alliance members Senet and ProSentry, saving lives and property.

A rapid increase in P&C insurance premiums, reported to be more than 300% since 2017. Water damage claims are the single largest category of losses contributing to rate increases, accounting for $300B in global water claims annually. This is leading insurers to transition to a prevention mindset, encouraging building owners and operators to adopt leak detection technology. LoRa Alliance member Kairos reports that its LoRaWAN flexible leak detection sensors have eliminated water claims for more than 8,000 apartment units since installation and achieved a 6-month ROI on average for asset owners following system installation.

The need for residents’ privacy is also driving LoRaWAN adoption in residential buildings, as it allows for facility monitoring and optimization without capturing or transmitting any personally identifiable information.

Overall, the combination of long-range, low power consumption, scalability, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, security, and interoperability makes LoRaWAN a useful and logical choice for a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

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