The Internet of Things popularly known as IoT is a network that consists of devices, vehicles, buildings, remote sensors for security purposes, power meters for tracking energy consumption and other connected electronic devices. Testing for IoT devices consists of Security, Analytics, Devices, Networks, Processors, and Operating systems.
The IoT turns out to be the biggest software development and testing technique of all time. The IoT poses fresh challenges to developers and software testers that will stretch their skills in releasing top-notch quality-assured software. Then the test engineers will be mainly accountable for the battery level, available bandwidth and network coverage that has been less pressing with traditional desktop and laptop computing.
IoT testing includes the functional and integration testing relevant to specifics of the distributed architecture, performance testing to check how the application handles the large data, and security testing at application, gateway and IoT device levels. According to the statistics, the global Internet of Things(IoT) testing market reached a value of 1.55 billion US dollars in 2021. The IMARC group expects the market to reach a value of 10 Billion US dollars by 2027.
Why is IoT Testing needed?
Since IoT involves multiple devices and multiple operations between the devices a small liability on performance may damage the entire functions. IoT, when worked with precision, will help to avoid unexpected glitches and identify any weak nodes that should be fixed to create a good end-user experience.
So as a whole, we can say that making an IoT application work as per the requirements and objectives needs dedicated IoT testing services. The product owners, developers, and testers could consider a few factors to ensure maximum productivity:
- Start with the reliable connection of IoT devices to create a unified experience for the users.
- Continuity should be the primary goal throughout the process.
- Always stick to compliance regulations and standard guidelines.
- All the devices should be connected and worked seamlessly.
- Data protection against malware.
IoT testing phases are:
- Carrier Network Generation: Deployment of sensors to form testbeds. The data gathered during this phase can be used in future to ensure that the product needs more testing or not.
- Device configuration and testing: This is when all the device components are tested together. The technician will monitor the performance of each component including CPU usage, memory consumption, and failure rate.
- Network Acceptance test: A set of tests is run on a live network to verify that it is working correctly.
- Production-ready testing: The device will be tested in both simulation and with real devices to ensure that everything is working fine.
Factors that influence IoT testing
- Diverse Devices: The ioT system comprises a variety of devices, sensors, and home appliances. Also, the functioning of the IoT device within the ecosystem depends upon the quality of the software in the system. The devices should be tested for factors such as stability, acceleration, repetition, memory, and stress.
- Importance of testing wireless connectivity: For an IoT device may be needed to have interference with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc. Hardware devices will have to deal with electromagnetic radiation. From the testing point of view, testers have to look into the fact that what will happen to data if the connection is dropped suddenly, at low network coverage scenarios. Since the devices will be connected all around the harm of one device may affect the functioning of another one. Additionally, you need to consider the data flow between the device and the server. IoT testing involves both software and hardware testing with real-time intelligence. IoT testing splits testing into two layers: device interaction layer and the user interaction layer. A test strategy is required to cover the depth and breadth of IoT testing. For IoT testing, it is crucial to evaluate data simulation and visualization techniques.
- Real-Time environments: An Iot framework needs to be live across diverse environments, which may be dusty or may have different temperature fluctuations, while testing testers should consider these factors too.
Simulation of the IoT application
Home automation is one of the important use cases. For testers, home automation may be a difficult one to simulate. We have to consider the factors such as the total layout and what are the other devices in the home. Service virtualization is used for this purpose, where modeling of different types of houses, sensors, and devices will be possible.
Another crucial factor is the security of the data and data privacy.
IoT will evolve significantly in the upcoming years and many new devices will be introduced. The system will always try to make all the electronic devices connected and one can be controlled with the aid of another device.
According to the reports, IoT has turned out to be the reason for business continuity for 84 percent of organizations.
Stages of IoT software testing
The various stages of software testing are:
- Compatibility testing: After the multiple integrations of software and hardware devices, the compatibility test should be run. The aim is to test the system against various browsers, devices, and operating systems for maximum compatibility.
- Performance testing: The system has to be tested under maximum load, no load condition, multiple devices should be tested at the same time. Cross-device data exchange tests, factors such as RAM, battery usage, and power should be taken into consideration, with various network scenarios and other environmental factors.
- Connectivity testing: The next stage is to ensure seamless connectivity of the device even in the case of a low coverage area. Some of the devices if required needed to be tested in an offline manner, at the same time ensuring no loss of data.
- Automated testing: It is the final stage of the test process where the advanced applications of IoT technology are to meet the QA standards. It can be an IoT system that needs to be implemented in a smart home project using sensors and other advanced connectivity options. Modern QA will be increasingly automated to the point that manual testing will still happen.
Errors in testing scenarios
Some of the errors are inevitable in testing scenarios. Listed are some of the errors:
- Multiple IoT platforms: As we know that IoT is the interconnection of multiple devices. Testing teams should keep in mind that they have to use multiple devices during the testing process.
- Numerous IoT communication protocols: IoT devices have various communication protocols. Some of them are:
- Message Queuing Telemetry Transport(MQTT): It is known for performance and high potential.
- Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol(XMPP): It is an open communication protocol that is designed for instant messaging, presence information and contact list maintenance.
- Constraint Application Protocol (CoAP): It is a specialized web transfer protocol for use with constrained nodes and constrained networks. It is designed to enable simple devices to join the IoT even networks with low bandwidth and low availability.
- Security threats: Since multiple devices are connected to the system, security threats will be there. Thus, the password policy is to be strategized securely.
- Diversity in apps: Due to the diversity in IoT software, a technically sound testing team and devices are required in the process. This will be taken into consideration if we set up the virtual environment.
- Fast-moving data and increased load: To avoid network issues, and overload on WiFi channels, Defective network hardware testers should ensure to run the application in various complex conditions and make sure that the data is not lost during the process.
The IoT testing trends
Some of the popular trends in IoT testing are:
- Artificial Intelligence: AI is the science which helps systems to perform tasks that need human intelligence or understanding. AI will ensure reliable results compared to manual testing.
- IoT network security challenges: Testing challenges increase as security and network-related challenges increase. To avoid data vulnerability end to end encryption between the devices and servers is required to transfer the data.
- Big data testing: Big data is the process that involves various analytical tools, techniques and frameworks to test large amounts of data, it is expected that in future, we will rely more on this technology for testing. So the testers should ensure to upskill in order to adapt to Big data advancements.
- Micro Services Test Automation: Considering the dynamism of deployment and scalability expectations of IoT, Microsevice will become an integral part of the IoT ecosystem. This architecture involves developing a single application that can work together as a suite of small services. Utilizing Microservices for IoT testing will also offer the benefits of testing the extensibility, scalability and integration of IoT systems.
For IoT, testers should concentrate more on the Test-As-A-User [TAAS] approach rather than testing based on requirements. IoT initiatives are marked faster with lesser risk. The QA team should ensure proper IoT security testing while considering the proper encryption between the devices and servers and should enforce strict password rules and closing ports when not in use. So far concerned, data security needs some strict IoT attention. Right from access management to meet the compliance requirement, intelligent integration management can be only worked through the right QA insights.