The Internet of Things promises operational data at a level of detail never seen before. Rich in patterns of consumer behavior, this data can be mined for feedback on a variety of business initiatives, from product development to marketing campaigns. Naturally, IoT adoption in organizations remains high at 83%, according to the survey. In fact, compared with last year, the percentage of companies that do not have specific strategies for IoT testing has decreased from 56% to 51%.
However, IoT solutions can be quite complex because they rely on a cloud-based integration layer that is often provided by a third party—either an equipment manufacturer or an independent supplier. Testing integration with these solutions was rated as the most challenging aspect of IoT testing by 27% of respondents. As with cloud applications, these solutions? raise the question of who shares testing specific liabilities and how that is described in the supply contract.
Relationship with third-party suppliers is also vital regarding operational intelligence. While test departments may collect their own operational data, IoT platform providers see the data as part of the benefits they can gain from introducing the technology. In contract negotiations, the two parties need to clarify who has right to store, process, and exploit this data.
This year’s survey shows that the challenges of IoT testing have only increased year-on-year. Up to 52% feel IoT solutions have an unlimited number of situations to test, and that they need “Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning” capabilities to test them thoroughly. This figure is up 4% over 2016. Similarly, half of the respondents say they would like to conduct more IoT-experience testing than mere functional testing. And a sizable proportion (47%) feels that the challenges with IoT testing are in testing the “thing” part, such as end-products and remote sensors.
Digital transformation is gripping all industries, and it presents challenges for test organizations on all fronts. Mobile applications can exponentially increase the test scenarios organizations must consider. Only through intelligent application of test automation can they hope to employ mobile technology without slowing down business. Expansive use of cloud services in many forms of digitization means organizations must ensure responsibilities for performance and security testing are clearly defined at the contract stage. Too few businesses explore these questions before seeking benefits from the cloud model.
Finally, IoT adds further complexity as test scenarios must capture interactions across four elements that make an IoT solution: the “thing,” communication, data storage and analytics, and application and user interface. Here too, businesses should question the responsibilities of third-party platform providers in terms of up-front testing. They also need to consider who owns the operational data resulting from IoT as it will be useful for future testing. By rising to these challenges, test teams will not only demonstrat technical expertise but also their value to the business.