IoT application testing: challenges & best practices
The Internet of Things is one of the global trends in business and innovation. You can hardly find an industry that will not be affected by IoT. So, why do lots of niches start using this technology? Which fields will be influenced by this trend the most? How to test an application based on the Internet Of Things? Or how to test IoT devices? Get the freshest answers to all these questions in this post.
IoT: Basic Facts
The Internet of Things is a unique system of connected objects that can collect, process, and transfer data with the help of wireless networks without the assistance of humans. The technology is widely used in numerous niches, and its number continues to grow. Many scientists believe that IoT is one of the most prospective fields for modern businesses. Therefore, developing an IoT-based solution might appear to be a ‘life-changing’ decision for you.
Top Industries That Have Been Already Using IoT
Healthcare and Sports
There are plenty of various types of wearable devices you can start using right now. Health-monitoring devices and fitness bracelets are among the most popular gadgets for people worldwide. Most technology giants like Samsung, Apple, and MisFit have been widely using IoT technology for manufacturing various devices that can track your sleep, heart rate, activities, and lots of other vital parameters. Moreover, the new appliances for patients with severe conditions, as well as elderly people, are hitting the market. These smart devices can continuously control the health parameters and send notifications on taking prescription drugs.
Supply chain and retail
These niches were among the pioneers in using IoT. Now, technology is not only implemented by industry leaders like Amazon but also used by various businesses in the hospitality segment. IoT applications allow tracking and managing supplies more effectively compared to traditional alternatives. Logistics, merchandising, and various related to retail industries are also actively adopting IoT.
The popular technology has also knocked at the doors of our homes. Security, lighting, and air controls allow us to make our houses more comfortable. IoT is becoming an independent and smart manager of thousands of people’s homes.
Smart watering systems and other innovative IoT tools are booming the industry. Now, watering the entire field can be easily switched on automatically. Smart devices can also control the temperature and humidity of soils to make agriculture more productive.
Cars and other vehicles are also using IoT. Smart vehicles are becoming increasingly popular among customers since they are much more convenient and easily driven than traditional ones.
The electricity market was the same for over a hundred years until IoT showed up. Large utility companies are investing heavily in Smart Grid technology and smart IoT electricity meters. This eliminates the need to send technicians to do the meter reading, and all can be done online using these IoT meters. The same goes for the oil and gas industry, as well as power generation plants. The energy and utility industries are characterized by having operations in remote locations; some are extremely hard to get to. Implementing IoT devices can significantly help the monitoring and maintenance activities as well as overall efficiencies.
The top challenges of IoT testing
There are many IoT examples of apps and devices you can find. Each one has its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. What are the most common testing challenges most professionals often face when testing IoT applications?
The main challenge with IoT testing is the fact that it covers many industries and use cases, with massive cross-platform deployment of embedded technologies. Many alliances are trying to create a single protocol to allow all global devices to communicate with each other. Yet, there are still many standards one can choose from. The devices can rely on Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth Mesh, or Wi-Fi. As well as LoRa, or others.
And the more standards, the more challenging it is to do proper testing.
IoT testing also requires to test both software and hardware (based on the different devices), and this by itself is more challenging than just testing an app, website, or software.
Also, because hardware and software are involved, and because of the lack of a single leading standard, there can be different versions of firmware and operating systems. Thus, it might not be possible to test all possible combinations of hardware and software.
Network availability and communications protocols
The fact that there are many communications protocols also makes IoT testing more challenging. IoT devices today use different communications protocols to interact with controllers, and with each other. Some common protocols are Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), and Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and it might be impossible to do cross-testing between these protocols.
The connection is the heart of any IoT technology. Different devices should interact and transfer data in a fast and effective way. The testers should always check network connectivity, availability, load, speed, and other important parameters.
IoT is widely used by various types of devices with different operating systems and technical parameters. Testing on all the devices is hardly possible even for big businesses, while emulators and virtual machines might give an unclear picture of testing. Fortunately, experienced crowd testers from Ubertesters can test any type of IoT application on a wide number of devices in real-life conditions.
Real-time data testing
Testing in real-time is one of the most challenging tasks, even for professional testers. However, expert QA engineers from Ubertesters, as part of our large community of crowd testers, can handle this type of task, too.
The fact is that the devices should interact with each other in near real-time conditions. Lots of features, including upgrade and security, can become a challenge for IoT testers.
These challenges require skilled and experienced testers to do proper QA testing for IoT technology. It requires even more responsibility and knowledge from the QA lead or project manager to have a better test strategy. All the parties involved with testing must have a good understanding of the architecture. Using a specialized third party for testing can be a wise decision, and using crowd testing services can be the perfect solution for such IoT testing.
The Best Test Approaches For IoT
What is IoT testing? It’s is a combination of various approaches to testing applications and related devices based on the Internet of Things (IoT). There is nothing new that it is often difficult to find an experienced IoT tester because the industry is relatively new. Fortunately, Ubertesters has exceptional experience in testing these types of apps/IoT devices, and can easily manage the entire IoT process of quality assurance. What approaches do we usually use for the most effective testing?
- Functionality is always considered the basic testing to be performed. Does the device function as it should? We test UI/UX, embedded, and backend computing.
- Can we simulate all subsystems, subcomponents, third party devices, and services that the IoT system includes? Sometimes a missing one component can damage the entire functionality of the system.
- Is the system scalable?
- Can the system handle establishing a connection with several devices?
- How does the system perform in stress conditions?
- What about power and system usage, temperature, and other vital parameters?
- How usable is each device in the system?
- Can the system send notifications, warnings, and error messages?
- Are notifications appropriately displayed in all the needed devices?
- Is data being appropriately processed?
- Does the primary function of the device really work?
- Is the data securely encrypted? Can it be securely transferred?
- Is password protection working correctly?
- Is data safely protected and can’t be read during transfer?
- Is the system always available?
- Is the connection and data transfer working correctly?
- Is there any data loss?
- How is data stored during offline periods?
- Did the system pass all regulatory points?
- What if the product passes all steps of testing but fails at the final compliance test?
- Is the product certified?
Test with Ubertesters
Ubertesters is an innovative company that keeps in touch with all the modern testing trends and uses only up-to-date IoT testing tools to check applications created for various niches. Expert QA engineers and automated tools will help you ensure the best quality of any IoT app.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.