5I/ Self Sovereign IoT Helium, Picos, DIDComm

From IIW

Self Sovereign IoT Helium, Picos, DIDComm

Session Convener: Phil Windley

Notes-taker(s): Sean Bohan

Tags / links to resources / technology discussed, related to this session:

Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1SSzf_wT11xXgB8XUeo_bUmr7KWJWFIJr/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=114869174347229543921&rtpof=true&sd=true

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

Insteon - went out of business, won’t keep lights on, employees removed from their LinkedIn

Retina manufacturer went out of business

How do we get out of that

Current model - manufacture, device, data about you

Compulsive of things

Alt model

You - data about you - manufacturer


Phil’s cabin

Pump in pump house 100 yds away

20-25 below in the winter

Would love to know temp in pump house

Something happens to electric heater - bad things


Options for temp sensors

  1. Device from Scott Lemon (WOVYN) - wifi - power hungry, limited range, run hub, etc.
  2. Sensorpush - bluetooth, out of Boston, simple, year on battery, great api, great app BUT limited range
  3. LoRaWAN - long range wan - lot of companies making hubs, lots of sensors, GPS and accelerometers - if you look at the space, still early days, lots of room for improvement

Expensive? Some - more exp than Wifi modules but if you need 5 not a prob, deploy a million is a problem

LoRaWAN - interesting LoRaWAN system called Helium

Helium - blockchain and token, proof of coverage, also built into the hotspot, triangulation and time for radio signals to prove a hotspot is in a place, you get paid in tokens for hotspot service

Good example of a blockchain use case, not making up an ecosystem

700k deployed

Phil made $30 in a month

Adrian - Example of decentralized finance - kickstarter - use prepayment as avoiding SEC regs for selling stock - Only viable example of decentralized finance in the wild

Interesting global network

Didn’t do any good at the cabin because it is in the middle of nowhere

Adrian - LoRaWAN is a MESH whereas Bluetooth and wifi need backbone

Lot of coverage in Bay Area - yes

LoRaWAN - 10km range

You don’t have to worry about infra about backhauling data out of the sensor

Connects and senses stuff

Global thing

Privacy model ? Proximity detection?

Unknown re: privacy model

Connection itself is 2 hotspots

Payloads not encrypted

Adrian: anyone studied apple tag protocol? Privacy issues? - tool for cyberstalking - curious how Helium will address that?

Helium console

Device keys - registered with network - helium running consoles vs others running consoles

In helium console - essentially UI to Helium Router (what device is connecting to)

Devices send data 3x an hour (reduces battery life if more frequent)

HTTP and MQTT integrations

Popular platforms



Payload - 11 bytes - standard LoRaWAN packet is less than 23 bytes

Base 64 encoding

Take payload, take it apart

Adrian - for 11 bytes 3x an hour, how much?

You pay $0.00001 - for one year $2.42 per sensor - if you look at the bandwidth, more expensive than phone, but you don’t need a SIM card for each sensor, a per use basis, tradeoff, not using LoRaWAN to transmit ZOOM sessions even if the network could support it - economics make sense


Heartbeat is JSON structure

Has lat/long of the proof of coverage

ID for the hotspot

Could do triangulation on it

Downlink and uplink same price

Adrian - how fast can you connect? Drive-by?

It doesn’t transmit when driving

Doesn’t transmit while motion - GPS better than that? Don’t know

Q: protocol/handshake? Don’t know

Control Channel

LoRaWAN - and Helium

Helium is a specific implementation of LoRaWAN

Willing to send a couple of bytes really far you can

Most LoRaWAN will look for response, or doesn’t come back will knock down spreading factor and send again

Trying to keep it open

Blindly transmits

Extra implementation to send data down - considers like an unprocessed packet

Helium Economy

Dual token model - data credits or Helium Network Tokens

Mint and burn equilibrium

Hotspots earn tokens from 2 sources, proof of coverage and data transfer

Mint and burn

Helium used to buy data credits is burned

Using more data credits than you are minting? Price fluctuates

Data credits linked to dollar

Always .00001 of a dollar

Large network of sensors - buying data credits as used,

Adrian - wants to do this decentralized finance model - is smart contract open source and accessible?

Several papers on mint-burn equilibrium model

Dual tokens - sam smith

Helium blockchain

Paid by hotspot for proving coverage and by data transfer

Helium recently announced hotspots with 5g and announced deal with Dish Network will have helium 5g nodes in them - higher data transfer rates


LoRaWAN Device->Helium Network -> Helium Router -> Webhook -> PICO

Data flowing

Adrian - what does Phil think, app platform model on top of picos - a generalization of Eth smart contracts, receipt tokens as if they are gas, not worrying about infrastructure

Phil - hold that thought

Doesn’t think Helium wants to be in the business of running router program - thinks they limit you to how many devices you build on their console - both open source -

This model: Phil runs Helium network, connect to PICO cloud, use manifold to create PICO too tell it what it is, exchange keys, uses router to register so auto connected to Helium

PICO engine building PICOs

6 sensors out there, 6 independent sensors - if they are thought of as PICOS can connect to do interesting things

This particular network - a temp network example (dist systems class)

Point it - programmable, do interesting things with them,

Phil has planned but hasn’t gotten to

  • Find students to use DIDCOmms as the primary messaging channel for PICOS than HTTP - end goal would like to build a mesh of engines (PICOS dont care what engine) - goal - picos moving between engines
  • Connected together
  • Maybe use tokens to pay for computation
  • Consent addressable network

SamC - Things Network,

Phil - a business, LoRaWAN and especially HELIUM allows to just deploy sensors without having to worry how to connect, business that opens a lot of IOT use cases, before were too heavy - imaging deploying it, with enough hotspots, nice thing is not just relying on having enough hotspots - now covered

Adrian - you have to have competition for 5g - will never have self-sovereign 5g - once you lose ability o control router and use faraday cages to control house, lost firewall and packet analysis - ultrawideband meshes cannot have an economic model means that equiv of ham radio on top of telephone network - developed a resilience component

Sam - building house, putting in zwave switches, this LoRaWAN is closest thing he has. Buy LoRaWAN and Helium falls apart can redeploy to The ThingsNetwork (TTN)

Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1SSzf_wT11xXgB8XUeo_bUmr7KWJWFIJr/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=114869174347229543921&rtpof=true&sd=true