It wasn’t long ago that Helium launched its peer-to-peer wireless network (The People’s Network) in California back in 2009. The Helium Hotspot allowed users to send and receive data from the Internet for their IoT devices, which are powered via open source blockchain technology. Users who own Hotspots are also incentivized by earning cryptocurrency (HNT) for providing public coverage (around 10 square miles). Since its introduction, The People’s network has exploded to over 1,000 US cities.
The popularity of The People’s Network was a driving force behind Helium’s recent announcement to expand coverage of its peer-to-peer network to Europe, with Helium Hotspots expected to ship in July of this year. “We’re excited to launch Helium Tabs at a time where we’ve seen incredible growth of The People’s Network across North America,” Helium CEO Amir Haleem shared. “We could not have accomplished what we have done, in such a short amount of time, without the support of our partners and our incredible community. We look forward to launching The People’s Network in Europe and eventually bringing Helium Tabs and other third-party IoT devices to consumers there.”
To that end, the Helium has announced their first IoT tracker that will run on The People’s Network. Known as Tabs, the unit is capable of being tracked in an eight-mile area. Tabs are outfitted with LongFi technology, which combines the LoRaWAN wireless protocol with the company's blockchain. Users can then monitor the device using Helium’s iOS or Android app and easily target its location. The company has stated that the Tabs trackers will retail for $50 to Hotspot owners and start shipping sometime this summer.