According to a press release by Gartner Inc., “6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day. Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015. Services are dominated by the professional category (in which businesses contract with external providers in order to design, install and operate IoT systems), however connectivity services (through communications service providers) and consumer services will grow at a faster pace.”
The forecast indicates that IoT will transform both software testing and development in near future. The enterprises will soon be required to create applications that enable devices to stay connected with, and talk to each other over the internet. At the same time, they also need to ensure that the IoT applications work seamlessly with third-party devices and can be integrated with both existing and emerging technologies. Hence, it will become essential for businesses to get all aspects of the IoT application tested thoroughly by deploying skilled testing professionals and using advanced test automation tools.
Assessing Importance of Testing Internet of Things Applications
Various Components Must be Combined Seamlessly
The success of an IoT application depends on its three major components – hardware, software and communication infrastructure. The hardware will make the devices responsive and communicate with other devices, whereas software will facilitate collection, storage, processing, sharing and manipulation of data collected by the application. At the same time, the communication infrastructure will provide the technologies and protocols required by the connected devices to exchange data. Hence, the enterprise needs to ensure that all components of an IoT application are combined seamlessly and working flawlessly.
Minimal User Interface
Most of the IoT applications launched till date sport minimal user interfaces. The minimal user interface does not allow manufacturers to provide tool tips, usage instructions and extra information to users. Hence, the user interface of the application must be tested elaborately to make sure it is simple and easy-to-use. Also, the developers need to ensure that the application must allow the users to accomplish various tasks in a number of ways. There are chances that the IoT applications will enable users to accomplish multiple tasks in near future. That is why; each enterprise must get the usability and user interface of the IoT application tested thoroughly.
Different User Interaction Options
Like mobile apps, the embedded application will deliver personalized user experience. They need to interact with the users proactively by responding to voice, touch or body motion. So the enterprises must assess the human interaction to make the IoT application popular and profitable. While testing an IoT application, the testers need to check how it responds to various user actions. Also, they must remember that the devices will soon become an integral part of user’s daily life. That is why; it becomes essential to assess the way the application interacts with users in both physically and emotionally.
A Wide Range of Devices
Internet of Things aims to create a connected environment where any devices with embedded sensors can connect and communicate with similar devices. So the IoT applications must enable the underlying device to connect with a wide variety of devices. While planning an IoT application, the business needs to ensure that it can communicate with different devices powered by various operating systems. But the business will not have any control over the devices used by other users. Hence, it becomes essential for enterprises to test the compatibility of the IoT application evaluated efficiently by using both real and virtual devices.
Varying Internet Connectivity and Speed
The IoT applications will interact with other devices and application exclusively over the internet. Hence, the speed of internet connectivity will affect the application’s functionality and performance directly. Each user nowadays uses a variety of internet connections including 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and broadband. So the businesses need to ensure that the application functions seamlessly with various internet connections. Likewise, they also need to ensure that no data is lost when the internet connection is lost unexpectedly. The testers also need to check how the application performs when there is slow or no internet.
Keeping User Information Secure
The machine to machine communication facilitated by IoT applications will make it easier for cyber criminals to execute targeted security attacks. They can easily execute malicious scripts and distribute malware to take control of the user’s device and access his personal data. Hence, the businesses must design the IoT applications with adequate authorization, authentication and encryption mechanisms. Also, they must deploy skilled testers to perform elaborate security and penetration testing of IoT applications. The testing will help businesses to eliminate all vulnerabilities that compromise the security of sensitive user data exchanged through the IoT application.
However, the businesses have to adopt new testing methodologies and test automation tools to test the IoT applications thoroughly and effectively. Many companies have already started developing new test automation tools to simplify testing of IoT applications. The enterprises still need to explore ways to get the applications tested in real user conditions by overcoming the constraints related to real devices, networks and environments.