IMC Newsdesk

Semtech and Helium expand LoRaWan deployments

  • September 2, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Californian companies Semtech and Helium have expanded LoRaWan deployments to more than 1000 cities across North America and Europe.

Helium is the company behind one the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless networks based on Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWan protocol. Today, Helium’s LoRaWan infrastructure is considered among the fastest growing of its kind. Earlier this year, Helium announced a partnership with Semtech to integrate the LoRaWan protocol into its LongFi networking architecture.

“Helium has seen incredible growth on its network as a result of its partnership with Semtech and the introduction of the Helium blockchain as an incentive model to the LoRaWan community,” said Amir Haleem, Helium’s CEO. “As we continue to expand the network across North America and in Europe, we hope to foster the growth of the ecosystem and make new technologies available to developers, industries and, ultimately, consumers.”

Helium’s network is powered by the Helium Hotspot, a device letting end consumers own and operate a LoRa-based wireless network for the IoT. When connected to a nearby hotspot, devices simultaneously mine cryptocurrency and provide LoRaWan coverage for hundreds of square kilometres.

Combining Semtech’s LoRa devices with Helium’s distributed, open-sourced approach to building a ubiquitous network allows the simplified deployment of applications across North America and Europe. In less than six months following Semtech and Helium’s initial collaboration, more than 10,000 Helium Hotspots have been sold.

Featuring a community of more than 8000 software developers in the LoRa ecosystem, the network is available to connect up to hundreds of millions of compatible LoRa-based devices. Several IoT providers use Helium’s network infrastructure, including:

  • Digital Matter, a specialist in GPS and IoT hardware development;
  • Conserv, a collections-focused environmental monitoring platform;
  • Smart Mimic, an IoT security software and hardware on-the-go company that has developed social distancing products; and
  • Agulus, an agricultural technology company.

As part of its mission to grow its LoRaWan offerings, Helium has entered a multi-year strategic alliance with Cal-Chip Connected Devices, a distributor and value added service provider in the IoT space. As part of this agreement, the organisation plans to help distribute Helium-compatible LoRa-based products, including third-party gateways and sensors, for use throughout North America and Europe.

“Semtech delivers the technology, Helium delivers the network and Cal-Chip delivers the devices,” said TJ Rancour, president of Cal-Chip Connected Devices. “Cal-Chip has the infrastructure and technical know-how to present solutions in an easy-to-understand manner, leading to an exceptional customer experience. By leveraging our logistics, customer service and technical proficiencies, Cal-Chip Connected Devices is enabling efficient user-friendly distribution of Semtech and Helium devices to a mass consumer market.”

Co-founded by Shawn Fanning and Amir Haleem in 2013, Helium is building a peer-to-peer wireless network to simplify connecting devices to the internet by rewarding anyone to become a network operator. Helium is backed by Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Multicoin Capital, FirstMark, Marc Benioff, Shawn Fanning and other VCs.

“Semtech is committed to the development of smarter IoT strategies which remove the complexity in developing LoRa-based products,” said Marc Pegulu, vice president of Semtech. “Through further collaboration with Helium, Semtech delivers end users and developers greater access to open-sourced networks and LoRa-based infrastructure. As a result, Helium’s unique business model enables ownership and operation of personal IoT networks, promoting the development of new and innovative LoRa-based applications which increase the global adoption of the LoRaWan protocol and accelerate time to market.”

Cal Chip Connected Devices, headquartered in Pennsylvania, is a distributor and value-added service provider of IoT devices.