With the rise of Helium, many of us were introduced to the new concept of combining a blockchain application with actual physical real world usage and tokenizing the incentives. I call that combo blockchain + meatspace, and Helium is just the beginning.
As most of us who got serious about Helium quickly realized, the name of the game is getting an antenna outside and up high. As it turns out, those skills and that location are useful for more than just deploying Helium Hotspots.
One project where you can add a device to the same pole (or roof) you’ve already secured is WeatherXM. It’s a small weather station that reads wind speed, direction, air temp, humidity, light, a rain gauge, and pressure. The outdoor station communicates over LoRa to a base station in your house that connects to your WiFi.
WeatherXM has just announced (29June2022) a waiting list for Helium compatible stations, so the requirement for a WiFi base station/miner may soon be gone. They’ve also recently (30June 2022) announced a $5 million seed round of funding led by Placeholder VC. That’s promising, though not particularly strong evidence that they’ll eventually crush. I mean, I hope they will because I love weather stations. 😉
Set up is straightforward with the WiFi connection version, which is what I bought (the Helium compatible one wasn’t available at the time.) It goes in two steps. First, connect the miner to power, then to your Wifi. This part happens indoors, and the only slightly janky thing is that the miner has a GPS antenna which has to be near a window.
Second, put the parts together for the weather station using the included tools, mount it on top of a pole, and you’re all set. I used an extra tripod and a short length of pole I had laying around. I’ve seen them mounted to the same pole a Helium miner is on using a standoff arm; that seems totally fine to me.
As of today, June 29th 2022, there are 421 stations worldwide on the network, and in the first 24 or so hours my station earned 29.074 WXM.
It reminds me a bit of the early days of Helium; not many spots on the map!
The main idea behind most of these blockchain + meatspace projects is that you deploy some kind of device that provides a data flow. The company, in this case WeatherXM, will resell that data flow and pay you for it in tokens. How much those tokens are worth, where you can redeem them, and if the network will ever actually be used are still up in the air.
For now I’m just using it to compare indoor and outdoor temps here in San Diego to decide when it’s time for A/C and when I can use our whole house fan to cool the place down.
Right now there isn’t much more info out there; while there’s a token there doesn’t seem to be a ton of interest on the WeatherXM to dive deep into crypto; they just want to incentive deployment through tokens. Cool with me, I love weather stations!