Wireless era: what to expect and how IoT software testing evolves
Bain`s latest research has brought a lot of insights on the way IoT might change the businesses in the nearest future. The study predicts the combined markets in the field will reach $520Bn in 2021. Besides, data analytics will be the fastest developing sector of IoT, as per the research. That means system integration, connectors, consumer devices, network, data center are the key areas IoT market is going to focus on. Since the IoT is that promising, software testing is one of the ways to ensure high quality and make all these predictions come true.
But first, what to expect from IoT in the nearest few years?
Bain sees cloud services as the most influential IoT provider. The research finds cloud providers might lower the barriers of IoT adoption making use cases easier to try and simpler to implement. Therefore, we might see the enterprises and industrial companies embracing cloud solutions for the sake of quicker product release and cost-efficiency.
The first IoT software platforms provided all-in-one solution services. But such platforms lack flexibility and fail to satisfy unique user needs. Since the businesses take a more customer-oriented approach, we may expect the next generation of network services to better address the broader array of customer requirements.
A shift from the independent all-solution software platforms will make IoT applications widely-available at leading cloud providers such as Azure or AWS. New partnerships with cloud services, in-built security, broader marketplace are the characteristics customers expect from advanced IoT.
We`ve already talked about the way 5G technology adds value to the connectivity issues making IoT a driver of industrial changes. The new network and wireless tech support can bring safety and real-time awareness in building autonomous vehicles. The tendency would support smart highways planning and develop a wireless transport ecosystem. Yeah, sounds like a fiction movie scenario. But what is clear now is that road communication and logistics might ripe benefits from using IoT.
Besides, software applications for remote healthcare would enhance the quality of medical services provided globally. Wireless support of surgery devices, data transfer, telemedicine are the sectors IoT might influence in future.
There are still places on Earth that lack urban roadside infrastructure, medical services, or global web access. Empowered by 5G, the Internet of Things might open the door to new ideas and problem-solving approaches.
Democratization of IoT, impact on industries, easier access via cloud services hit up the competition for customer loyalty. And that`s where the question of software quality steps in. As the number of IoT devices increases enormously, consumer expectations about technology, interface, performance rise fast as well. That`s why our team shares some IoT software testing stages a product usually goes through before the release:
Since the IoT system unites a range of devices, software and hardware configuration of those devices also vary. The goal of compatibility tests is to run through all the required combinations gadgets get connected to the system. Therefore, communication modes, device generations, browser types, different operating systems are the essential testing items needed for IoT compatibility checks.
These tests ensure faultless implementation of the whole IoT strategy and plan. It makes sure IoT application speed handles environments with large data loads. Non-standard scenarios and simulated loads help check the IoT system through sophisticated working conditions.
Since performance testing requires a well-thought-out plan, these are the key parameters the strategy includes:
- Increasing data capacity ensure IoT performs under the extremes of data volume.
- Test cases with a different number of devices — from a few to a thousand.
- Simulating cross-device data exchange.
- Monitoring utility: system usage display, power & battery consumption, temperature index, etc.
- Network impact testing: measuring performance of a deployed IoT app. The stage includes testing a device for a combination of environment conditions and network size.
The IoT system should be all-times available and seamlessly connected with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, etc. When the connection is running, QA engineers ensure the data storage is smooth. But the “connection down” scenario requires more attention, as the tests for wireless connectivity scenarios bring importance to the software makers. The potential problems with connection shape the application design. No matter how robust the network is, chances are the system goes offline. That`s why QA needs to cover bases and check what happens when the network is unexpectedly dropped.
QA ensures the mechanism of data storage continues working during the offline period. Meaning the data loss should be prevented and stored in an offline mode. Software testing often goes into real-world tests — checking the app in the required environment switching between the connections.
While Dropcam and Nest have successfully made waves with the consumers, the Apple HomeKit works on its full home connectivity. However, testing in an unfamiliar environment might be challenging for QA engineers. In this case, it is crucial to consider compatibility (the other devices present at home) or home layout. Virtualization is a way forward for dev and test teams to model any house type and locate device states, though. Therefore, testers have a full picture of the real-life conditions IoT system would function in.
The Internet of Things Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC) 2018 predicts slow simplification of communication protocol standards in IoT development. That means automated testing has a good chance to fully enter the industry. For now, testing applications connected to the network often results in sleepless nights, since not all IoT devices can be approached by automation. However, the use of automated tests for IoT is always a matter of a specific device. The simulators might help to render the network of IoT nodes and deliver a range of benefits for IoT product release:
- Speed. Accelerated testing process is one of the goals automation can bring to IoT quality assurance. It removes resource limits and enables continuous app testing to be executed along with a cross-device check.
- Test Coverage. Since automated tests are cost-effective, QA would support a broader range of app versions, desktop & mobile devices detecting the early-stage defects. Performance of the connected device and the controlling app might also increase in efficiency with the help of auto tests.
- Use. Automated testing might ensure the IoT app is multi-user and can be deployed in a dispersed environment.
As IoT is an emerging technology in 2019, the role of automated QA is one of the ways to accelerate product delivery and enhance the competitive edge of the industry.
Seems like 2019 should be exciting since IoT technology continues interacting with the businesses bringing new solutions to our everyday lives. The changes might not be that fast, but one thing is for sure: there are unusual market changes to expect over the next few years.