Competition in IoT Connectivity Space Heats Up as Helium Enters LPWAN Fray

Connectivity is one of the most exciting areas of IoT, with new players looking to stake their claim.

iot connectivity
Image Credit: Helium, Illustration by IFA

Back in April we shared a post on IoT connectivity — comparing LoRa, SigFox, RPMA, and other LPWAN technologies. As new players make their way into the evolving connectivity space, we want to make sure you know all about them.

Enter Helium — a San Francisco based IoT company founded in 2013 by Amir Haleem and Shawn Fanning (yes, the same Shawn Fanning who founded Napster). Helium has made it their duty to simplify the deployment, management and scaling of IoT networks and has recently announced a LPWAN solution to compete with the likes of LoRa, Sigfox, and RPMA (among others).

Helium has identified a big issue when it comes to capturing and transmitting data securely from the hardware to the application layer, and sees even more difficulty for those who are dealing with a large number of devices. In order to combat this, Helium has focused its new offering on hardware-based security. It can be self deployed, and like Sigfox, users have the ability to manage their own devices. Not to mention operating on 802.15.4 IEEE Standard PHY.

The new connectivity solution gives Helium a complete end-to-end solution which can be managed through APIs or their Helium dashboard.

The big question is, how will Helium fare against the incumbent LPWAN players mentioned above? And beyond just competing against other LPWAN solutions, will LPWAN succeed at all? Maybe cellular IoT (including NB-IoT, LTE-M, and others) will win out and the LPWANs will be crushed.

I tend to believe that cellular IoT and certain LPWANs will each find their own niche for specific applications, but only time will tell. The one thing we do know is the connectivity space is one of the most exciting areas of IoT to pay attention to, with new players looking to stake their claim, the race is on to see who wins big and who fizzles out.

If you have any questions about LPWAN, please leave questions in the comments below!

Ryan Chacon
Ryan is IoT For All’s Editor-in-Chief. Prior to helping create IoT For All, Ryan has served as a founder, early stage employee, and start-up advisor -- helping to build, market, raise funding for and launch technology related products and businesses — all leading to an ever growing obsession with technology. Contact Ryan at [email protected]