Internet of Things Testing Challenges and Considerations

In part one of this two-part blog series, we delved into a recent lunch-and-learn presentation I gave on methods used to test IoT devices and augment manual testing by leveraging technology for better efficiency. This blog series culminates with part two, an examination of additional internet of things testing challenges and considerations for IoT testers aiming to deliver successful connected products and the optimal user experience.

IoT Testing Challenges

IoT device testing can be quite challenging — whether testing across cloud IoT platforms to ensure effective usability, leveraging various communications protocols to assure interaction between the device and the server, network or security issues or complexities surrounding working with a number of components.

Each connected device has its own hardware and relies on software to issue commands to the device and analyze the data it gathers. With so many variants of software and hardware for IoT products, as well as different versions of firmware and operating systems, testing all of the possible combinations connected devices employ remains a tall task.

Test infrastructure setup

Different components in any IoT system use different protocols to communicate with one another. Consequently, the components need to be tested across various communications protocols to ensure that the device works seamlessly and can interact with its controller.

Plus, network issues can affect IoT devices in several ways, the most crucial being performance. If you have a “thing” that’s very process-intensive or takes up a significant amount of computing resources and a feature requires low latency for optimal functionality, a slow network will definitely impact the device’s ability to carry out an action or function.

Considering the amount of data collected and communicated by connected devices, IoT security testing is critical. While I’m not a security expert, I understand that, given enough time, anything can be hacked, and it is important to keep an eye out for vulnerabilities. As such, it’s critical to use common sense to ensure a simple security issue won’t rear its ugly head after launch. Being in QA, I have access to information that the average user won’t (such as device logs), so I try to ensure passwords aren’t stored in plain text or flying around through logs. It might sound obvious, but entirely too often IoT devices remain vulnerable out in the wild.

Finally, whether the discussion surrounds the hardware, the software or the front end, with IoT systems, there are many areas where things can be broken, and determining where a bug originates is quite challenging. When testing complex connected systems, it’s important for IoT testers to try to understand as much as they can about the product and how it will be used because they want to not only find the bug but investigate where it initially arose to effectively ameliorate the issue.

IoT Testing Methodology and Considerations

When testing connected devices, it’s crucial that testers understand the product, the technologies being used and the end user. From there, it’s all about determining which type of technologies the IoT device employs, recognizing the interfaces between the real world and the servers/cloud environment and fleshing out what all should be tested and how to test those concerns.

There are many different types of tests, and they all have their place. Of course, it would be wonderful to be able to test everything, but it’s not possible to test every single aspect every time. That’s why understanding the product, the technologies being used and the end user is vital. Knowing what the product is, the ins and outs of all the individual components, the limitations with whatever solutions are being imposed and the myriad of ways in which the device will be used by end users will help ensure you’re testing the right thing at the right time.

At the end of the day, you want to cast the biggest net you can when testing IoT products (or any product). It is very easy to prove something does not work, however, the same cannot be said for proving that something works under all possible conditions. QA is but one of many processes within the development cycle designed to filter out potential issues that may impact the end user and cost stakeholders.

IoT Testing Services

At Cardinal Peak, our team is composed of numerous engineers with a range of expertise. Having experts in a lot of different fields helps us overcome the myriad challenges that arise in testing smart devices and IoT products because we work closely with each other and with developers, and it’s not unheard of for the QA team to pick the brain of a developer to get their input.

We understand that our deliverables operate within a larger system, and our process guarantees a successful device on the fastest possible schedule. Quality assurance testing services are engineered into our process from day one and our QA team works continuously through every project to correct any issues early on and eliminate final-stage surprises. Discover how our IoT testing expertise can help you develop connected devices that thrive in today’s networked ecosystems.