The Power of DePIN: Helium Network and Mycelium Testbed

Supporting nearly 200 IoT nodes and over 100 CBRS radio installations in the heart of Northwest Arkansas.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a transformative force in the conceptualization and realization of smart cities. By enabling everyday objects to connect, communicate, and exchange data, IoT has facilitated a vast web of interconnected devices that span across public infrastructure, transportation, and urban services. From traffic lights that adjust in real-time to ease congestion, to waste management systems that notify when they are full; these are the fruits of the synergy between IoT and urban environments. Such advancements pave the way for cities that are not just smart, but also responsive, sustainable, and resilient.

The rising prevalence of IoT devices promises a connected future. However, this landscape faces challenges that could limit its full potential.

Key Challenges in the IoT Landscape:

  • Inconsistent Network Coverage: Many regions still grapple with patchy and unreliable network connectivity, a problem compounded by the proliferation of IoT devices.

  • Device Management & Updates: As the number of devices multiplies, their management and regular updating become daunting tasks.

  • Lack of Standardized IoT Protocol: The absence of universal standards results in compatibility issues, which can be significant roadblocks for integration and scalability.

  • Cybersecurity Concerns: With the exponential growth in connected devices, the risk of security breaches has soared, warranting robust countermeasures.

  • Financial Demands: The considerable expenses linked with infrastructure development and device hardware pose a challenge to many.

  • From inconsistent network coverage across the globe to the absence of standard protocols, the world of IoT is at a crossroads.

Emerging Solutions: DePIN (Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks)

Unlike traditional centralized models, DePINs herald a new era of physical infrastructure — one that is decentralized, efficient, and better aligned with the collaborative spirit of the 21st century.

The innovation of DePIN is built on three main pillars:

  1. Integration with Modern Technologies: DePINs integrate blockchain protocols, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the Web3 ecosystem. This combination ensures a coordinated approach to building, operating, and maintaining real-world physical infrastructure. It paves the way for a future where technology and tangible constructs harmoniously coexist.

  2. Proof of Physical Work: DePIN’s ‘proof of physical work’ concept provides security for IoT networks and devices. By integrating DePIN protocols, IoT systems can leverage human-driven proofs of physical work to validate transactions and data. This adds a layer of decentralized security to IoT without the need for high computational overhead. DePIN represents an opportunity to secure IoT networks in a scalable, sustainable manner through community participation.

  3. Permissionless Protocols: These networks are, by design, open to everyone and are governed by a global community of participants. DePINs eliminate the tedious process of seeking approvals, ensuring that the future of infrastructure is democratic and inclusive.

Let’s delve deeply into Mycelium Networks, an enterprise-grade DePIN-operating company founded by Rishi Mittal, a long-time member of the Helium community and a staunch DePIN proponent.

The Mycelium Testbed
Supporting nearly 200 IoT nodes and over 100 CBRS radio installations

Located in the heart of Northwest Arkansas, home to three Fortune 500 companies (Walmart, JB Hunt, and Tyson) and a thriving community of residents and small businesses, the Testbed serves as an ideal venue not only for testing new projects and products but also for showcasing them, providing a launchpad for go-to-market strategies and experimentation.

In simple terms, the Testbed acts as an unbiased platform for DePIN networks and solutions of all varieties. More precisely, it’s a utility for the entire DePIN industry. It embodies a live infrastructure spread across hundreds of host locations and acts as a controlled testing environment for new networks and solutions based on this technology.The Testbed is a dream playground for those deploying physical hardware, especially for projects on the Helium IoT.

Today, the Testbed proudly features 187 IoT nodes and over 100 CBRS radios, sparking new DePIN projects and facilitating the introduction of innovative composable hardware. With more than three years of active participation in the Helium Network, Mycelium has not only been a dedicated contributor but has also been instrumental in several Helium initiatives, most notably the recent Solana Migration Readiness Working Group.

Quote from Abhay Kumar, CEO of Helium Foundation:

“If you’re building an application on Helium and want a space to experiment, you should deploy in places like this. It’s a real-world space that can teach you a whole lot more than any simulated test lab.”

What’s New? Latest Updates from Mycelium Networks

  1. Mycelium Networks and Walmart AMP have collaborated over the past 18 months to tackle inconsistent cell coverage at the Walmart Amphitheater in Northwest Arkansas, which hosts up to 11,000 attendees. Their solution is the on-site Helium 5G connectivity hub, ensuring stable access. Furthermore, the Helium IoT network will be used to provide essential sensor data for the critical operations of the outdoor facility, including hyper-localized weather reporting and cold-storage monitoring. Read more:

  2. Mycelium Networks and Walton Arts Center have teamed up to upgrade wireless connectivity in the Fayetteville Entertainment District, home to hundreds of bars, restaurants, shops, street vendors and tens of thousands of weekly visitors. Read more:

Interested in learning more about DePIN and building on the Helium Network? Whether you’re looking to develop an existing use case or start from scratch, the Helium Foundation is here to help.

Connect with the Helium Foundation, the developers supporting this project, and the global Helium community on Helium’s Community Discord.

If you’re in NY for Messari Mainnet, make sure to attend the DePIN HH & Networking event, where you can meet some of the Helium Foundation team members in person.