a web of devices interconnected over the internet – comprised 9.7 billion devices in 2020, and is projected to exceed 29 billion by 2030. As it brings the physical and digital worlds together, the IoT is transforming every industry imaginable by presenting new opportunities; elevating customer experience; improving productivity, efficiency, and agility; and enabling insightful decisions.
Whether it is deploying drones for surveying farmlands, using sensors and RFID tags to monitor goods through a supply chain, or delivering better banking experiences via connected user devices, the possibilities of the IoT are endless.
However, enterprises need to fulfill certain requirements before they can fully use IoT as a tool of business transformation.
For one, the IoT must be embedded into products and processes, just like other software applications.
Second, success in IoT adoption is earned through iteration: Since the IoT has a myriad of elements, organizations need to gather data from devices, convert it into analysis, act upon that insight, and do it all over again in a continuous feedback loop that’s always refining, learning and improving the various IoT constituents.
This implies that organizations must provide for managing, maintaining, and updating interconnected systems, processes, and devices on an ongoing basis. And they need to test everything to ensure that all the “things” talk to each other and that their performance meets specifications and measures up to the users’ expectations.
The following example depicts a typical IoT testing scenario:
An instrument in a healthcare tracking system monitors a patient’s vital parameters and records this information so healthcare providers can access it when needed. Physicians can initiate changes in medication or intake remotely from a computer or mobile device that the instrument is connected to.
To work smoothly, various aspects of this use case have to be tested.
For example, every device should be checked for usability (sends messages, logs data, displays information, etc.). ll the connected devices, and the data flowing between them, must be secure. It is essential to check the compatibility of the various operating systems, browsers, devices and connectivity options that are involved. The entire system must also perform at scale, and comply with all regulatory requirements. Further, the software powering the IoT devices needs to be thoroughly tested to eliminate bugs and optimize performance.
Since all these elements are dispersed and under multiple ownership, it is pretty certain they will not be up and running at the same time to undergo physical testing.
Going back to the earlier example, imagine the difficulty of physically testing a user interface that is being accessed remotely by patients from their respective (diverse) devices. Apart from device unavailability and inaccessibility, an important device-side challenge in testing and validating an IoT solution is the high cost.
Yet another difficulty in physically testing an IoT use case within enterprise premises is that it requires massive resources that are only available in the cloud.