IoT Testing (QA): A connected Approach for Applications

indrani

Internet of things (IoT) is booming almost all vertices of the industry. With the rise of technology and market demands, organizations are planning to build IoT products to expand their connected ecosystems. To handle the challenges like complex architecture, huge volume, & variety of data, organizations need to come up with unique IoT testing (QA) strategy to ensure the reliability of their products and devices.

What is IoT and what does it mean in testing space?

IoT is taking over the world in both concept & practice by changing the way industries work together. IoT has initiated the rapid evolution of ideas that affect our day-to-day activities and will certainly accelerate the technical world’s capability to make digital ecosystems of the future a present-day reality.

The IoT consists of three key components: Things, communication & computing.

The things are literally the physical objects, which are going to be connected to the internet. These things can be anything from the watch on your wrist to your refrigerator or car.

In order for IoT to work, all things within a home or an office need to be able to communicate with each other without any interruption. If the communication between devices breaks down for any reason, the entire system will collapse.

The other piece of IoT is the computations that are being conducted in the background, which is needed to make things run smoothly. Computing is done in a central location such as a mobile device, desktop or server.

The main goal of IoT is to allow us to make decisions that are more intelligent in our daily lives, so having the computing power to do so is vital. Some of the important domains of IoT are smart cities, smart environment, smart water, smart metering, smart safety measures and smart retail.

Why IoT?                    

  • Efficient machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.
  • Development of multiple protocols.
  • Development and integration of enabling technologies (Nanoelectronics, embedded systems, Software and cloud computing).
  • Supports smart living concepts.

Real-Life IoT Use Cases

Lawn care at your fingertips

Indego Connect, developed by Bosch, is easy and convenient to operate via a smartphone or tablet app connected to a backend solution. With Indego, you can initiate mowing, pause cutting, send the mower back to the charging station or even disable it completely. The app also displays the area already mowed by Indego as well as its current position in the garden area.

bosch indego-Iot testing device with application

Image Source: Bosch

Logicut instead of random navigation – thanks to the intelligent navigation system developed by Bosch – Indego takes lawn mowing to a new level of efficiency.

What’s more, Indego even lets you know when it’s time to check the cutting blades. Remote software updates always keep the mower up to date and the mower is locked automatically to prevent theft.

Connection between IoT and Quality Analysis (QA)

QA affects the ‘core components’ which comprises of things, communication, and computing. Things can be described as physical objects with sensors (embedded or attached) that enable the object to interact with an external environment.

internet of things IoT testing and quality analysis connected environment

Communication is the main networking element that enables the object (thing) to communicate with other things and/or the external environment by way of a communication protocol that is based on a type of networks, such as a hard-wired connection, Wide Area Network, Local Area Network or cellular provider.

Computing dictates the behavior and is done on a mobile device, desktop, workstation or server, which in turn processes and analyzes data. Computing must make intelligent decisions and deductions within a specified system that ultimately forms the connection for actual use and the analysis of user behavior.

5 Types of IoT Testing (QA)

With the evolution of technology, a whole new level of complexity has been introduced for testing IoT devices.
A tester should verify all the tools and metrics to ensure the reliability of the application when it interacts or communicates with hardware over a defined network.
To simplify the challenges involved in IoT testing process, testers can refer to these 5 types of IoT testings:

1. Hardware-Software Performance Testing

It is a process of validating the hardware and software components of a device with numerous test cases. The goal of this type of testing is to determine the relationship between the object and the software with which it interacts.

A testing agent should validate the compatibility by analyzing large-scale sensor interactions to ensure the effectiveness in a real-time IoT environment.

2. Cross Domain Compatibility Testing

It is a measurement of how various devices communicate with each other and the digital environment. Various validation considerations such as hardware compatibility, encryption checks & security standards from the device layer to the network layer are being done in this type of testing.

3. Security Testing

Security testing includes testing of information security, privacy and system fidelity for consistent quality in an IoT ecosystem. Another part of security testing for the IoT is to ensure that steps are being taken to keep up the Privacy and Safety, as very delicate information (individual information, budgetary data, web cameras, GPS gadgets, and wearables data) are easy targets for hackers.The protection of this information is an important aspect.

4. User-Experience Testing

It is all about how a specific device, application or system works across various channels and interfaces. Based on data obtained from different use cases, tester ensures the user-experience, front-end, and back-end functionalities.

5. Exploratory Testing

At the end, the success of any application is determined by its users. IoT is nowhere concerned. Even an IoT application that meets all the requirements and testings may wind up with a bust. So it’s essential to execute exploratory testing to ensure how the application will work when interacts with real-time users.

IoT testing and quality analysis areas

Image Source: Slideshare

Challenges Associated with QA Team in IoT Testing

Replication of environment required for IoT testing is expensive and demands huge effort. Various groups and third-party units possess the subsystems, subcomponents, and services that are interrelated. If a user is unable to access a single dependent, sub-component, it could affect the testing of the whole system.

In order to obtain the correct test data among different systems, substantial effort and organization among multiple teams are required. Gadget available for testing IoT devices might have inadequate capacity. Sensor quality and accuracy are another cause for concern. The other challenges involved in testing IoT devices are related to compatibility, complexity, connectivity, power problems, security privacy, and safety.

Quality assurance revolving around IoT must go on for optimization of process and improvement of end-user experience. This is very important from the perspective of an evolving industry.

The QA plays a very critical role in IoT. Testing hardware & software components and reporting results driven feedback in real-time is merely a part of the process. Rigorous testing must be performed on applications, platforms and the corresponding technologies by organizations prior to full-scale market release. Moreover, QA steps must test reliability along with scalability and market release.

(QA) Testing Opportunities lies in IoT Environment

NFC payments: NFC (Near Field Communication ) is a technology where devices like your phone and payment terminals can talk to each other, with the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Nowadays banks have started using NFC payment tags for the retail bills and other payments.

Apple Pay/Samsung Pay: Apple Pay enables users to save details of their various cards to make payment swiftly with their Apple devices. Samsung has also started this service with their “Samsung Pay” and in initial phase collaborated with several banks.

Automotive Telematics: It’s a smart way of gathering data on your vehicle’s health. Once data is collected and analyzed well, we can minimise the chances of future breakdowns.internet of things IoT testing and quality analysis in automobiles

Image Source: Nordic APIs

Interconnected Banks accounts with applications: In IoT million of devices are connected with each other and keep on doing so to build an integrated system. These systems generate tons of data to being analyzed to make our financial decisions smart.

On the other side, banks are analyzing their customer data to improve their value chain with personalized services.

Payments through wearable devices: The trend of wearable is hitting skies. Now you can also pay with your wearable device.

Impact of testing on IoT devices in Future 

IoT is here to stay. One cannot ignore it. The next couple of decades will see the tremendous impact of Internet of Things.

IoT initiatives are to be marketed faster with less risk. The results have already started pouring in. Looking at the innovative onslaught of the Internet of Things one sees the advancement of technology into mobility and diversity with test integration and automation, QA teams are well-set to devise testing procedures which will secure the further expansion of IoT technology.

IoT Expert

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indrani