Testing the Internet of Things (IoT) – the Future is Here

By Venkat Ramesh Atigadda

Introduction

The Internet of Things is a scenario in which objects or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction [1], all these physical objects are connected to one or more sensors via the internet, and each sensor will monitor a specific condition such as temperature, motion, or location. There is huge transformation in the usage of the internet when compared to the past. Previously, the internet was used to obtain information, perform transactions, connect to family and friends, and for entertainment, etc., but today it is also used to connect with physical devices and things, for example a mobile app to locate car keys, a medicine bottle with alerts on dosage, or temperature control as per climatic changes. Everything is connected via the internet for continuous monitoring, and the data is captured and stored in cloud based platforms with a well-defined analytics strategy to support predictive analytics for critical decision making. This means there is a significant role for testing these devices or networks to ensure that quality and standards are maintained.

iot-testing

 

Business Drivers:

• Business process monitoring
• Rise of smart connected devices
• Connected network (people, data, and things)
• Development of IP-enabled devices
• Reduced time-to-market
• Increased customer satisfaction
• Cost saving

Key Testing Types:

According to a survey by HP [2], 70% of the units in the Internet of Things segment have serious security flaws, and an average of 25 security flaws are observed in each IoT device.

Testing the Internet of Things
Table 1. Key Verification Aspects

 

 

Below are the reports shared by HP [2], raising significant concerns regarding user security and privacy:

• 80% of devices allowed weak passwords
• 70% did not encrypt data transmissions out to the internet
• 60% had cross-site scripting or other flaws in their web interface
• 60% did not use encryption when downloading software updates

In light of these reports, there is a greater need for QA services. So below are some of the key testing aspects which need to performed as part of IoT testing.

Additional Verification Aspects

Below are some of the additional verification aspects that can be considered for testing IoT [3]:

IoT Key Verification Aspects
Table 2. Additional Verification Aspects

 

Challenges for IoT Testing

Below are some of the key challenges with regard to IoT testing:

• Testing multiple combination of radio bands including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC

• Devices with multiple lines of code, which makes life difficult for the testers

• Devices using non-standard communication protocols will require significant changes to application testing

• Availability of multiple devices and technologies

• Obtaining the complete overview on hardware and software architecture to develop test strategy or test plan

• Limitations with regard to memory, processing power, battery life

• Complexity of the software and the system

Best Practices:

Here are some of the best practices that can be practiced for the mutual benefit of the organization and testers:

• Use of clear test specifications to improve quality

• Use of test automation tool to reduce time-to-market

• Analyze the product’s functional requirements and use cases for effective testing

• Determine test metrics that will measure the impact of the IoT strategy

• Highlight the top priority problems in advance that need to be tackled

• Increase the device connections to gain more IoT value

Advantages:

Below are some of the advantages of using the IoT:

• Leverage sensor data to analyze and work with management to improve business processes

• Delivering detailed information of product in real-life conditions

• Help businesses deliver performance, reliability, and interoperability

• Can be controlled from anywhere through their embedded computers

• Can manage things better, from traffic flows to use of energy

Checklist for IoT Testing:

The checklist below helps the team to test IoT devices/applications for maintaining quality [3]]:

IoT Testing Checklist
Table 3: IoT Testing Checklist

 

References

[1] http://whatis.techtarget.com
[2] http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/internet-of-things-laid-bare-25-security-flaws
[3] http://www.logigear.com
[4] http://www.elektron-technology.com/sites/elektron-technology.com/files/iot-agar-scientific-white-paper-final.pdf
[5] http://blogs.clicksoftware.com/clickipedia/five-expected-benefits-from-the-internet-of-things-the-impact-on-service

 

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