A few decades ago, had people been told that lights could automatically turn on when you entered a room, or coffee began brewing the moment you woke up or the door locked itself when a stranger approached it, they’d call it magic! They’d consider these as a work of fiction and enjoy it as a story. However, things aren’t quite the same today. Everything that was once considered magic, is now a practical piece of reality. Well, this is because today we live in the day and age of the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart devices or IoT devices are created to make life simpler for us on a day-to-day basis. Now can you imagine how much thought and effort went into their creation? In fact, not just in the process of development but even the process of software product testing for these devices needs to be conducted intelligently.
Smart devices are the ones that combine a few essential features in ways that not only make our lives easier but also better. While a lot of products in the market use the smart label as a marketing gimmick, truly smart devices are those that are working towards holistic intelligence.
Key characteristics of IOT devices include:
Let’s start with sensors. A device requires information before it can start doing anything. All smart devices work by collecting some form of data — video, temperature, movement, location, etc. This data forms the foundation of a smart device and defines what the device can do.
Automation is the process of a device performing tasks automatically based on programmable triggers or specific sensor inputs.
Automation exists in many forms. In some cases, it is remote, wherein a device identifies motion in Berlin and automatically informs your smartphone in Brussels. While in some cases, both the cause and effect take place in the same area, wherein you enter a room, and the lights turn on automatically.
Remote accessibility allows you to convey or get information without needing to be physically present. It is the ability to access a product remotely via a tablet, computer or smartphone. This tech feature allows you to adjust a thermostat from another part of the town or even check whether supper is ready while you're leaving from office.
When a device can sense where it is, which other devices are nearby, and what is happening around, it is considered smart. This happens when it begins to understand and examine its surroundings.
When awareness becomes a part of a device which is automated and remotely accessible, then we begin to see intelligence unfold in exciting new ways. For example, a door locking automatically when certain people approach it.
Learning devices automatically recognize patterns over time and change their responses to different triggers or events without being reprogrammed. Over time this learning makes them more effective, accessible, and easy-to-use. For example, a smart thermostat could optimize the cooling and heating of your home based on your behavior patterns, thereby saving energy.
Smart Devices today are becoming smaller, more powerful, and economically-priced to facilitate widespread adoption. Alongside, the Internet infrastructure has evolved as well. And so quite naturally, the process of testing these devices is changing as well.
The Process of Software Product Testing for Smart Devices
Now, are you wondering what kind of impact these smart devices will have on the process of software product testing? Just like the introduction of smartphones and mobile apps had generated new challenges for the testing fraternity.
These included touchscreen gestures, location awareness, and orientation concerns. Hence, you can be certain that IoT devices will require some recalibration too. All this while tests were run against computer software and needed keyboard and mouse input. Whereas now testing a smart device requires the data to be received from the device’s sensors as well as user input through tapping and typing.
While certain aspects of software product testing are changing, there'll also be a few that don't. In most scenarios, QA teams perform detailed and planned work as part of the software product testing process; however, in the world of smart devices and IoT, this is a necessity that cannot be ignored. Testers with complicated field testing will require planning of time to obtain all of their needs before they're needed. This involves the designing and developing tests, managing test assets such as test cycles and releases, test cases and scripts, requirements, test sets, and defects. Testers will also have to ascertain and associate requirements, releases and cycles, test cases and scripts, test executions, and errors. Planning is hence crucial owing to the complexity and variability of software product testing for smart devices.