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As technology advances, the number of devices connected to IoT (Internet of Things) increases exponentially.
Not surprisingly, according to a survey conducted by Statista , it is estimated that by 2030 more than 25.44 billion devices will be connected to IoT, still, a very conservative forecast.
From automobiles to refrigerators, intelligent homes and even solutions for different industries, IoT technology is now part of every aspect of our life.
Therefore, the more devices are connected to the Internet of the Things, more important will be to focus on safety and efficiency.
At this point, the traditional methods that guarantee quality assurance of these solutions cease to be efficient, opening the doors to a very innovative technological concept: IoT Testing.
This topic will be further addressed below.
What is IoT Testing?
IoT Testing is a process than includes several tests, from functional to nonfunctional tests [https://www.connectis.tech/not-functional-testing-understanding-its-importance-in-software-development/ /] that assure that the solution or device is ready to be deployed in real life.
As in any software test, the goal is to find and fix vulnerabilities so that the released solution works as expected and can be successfully deployed in the real world.
There are more than 40 types of IoT tests and they all include a series of analysis commonly known in the world of technology. These are the main ones:
- Functional testing;
- Integration testing
- Distributed test architectures;
- Performance testing;
- Security testing;
- Tests of performance;
- Compatibility testing;
- Functional testing
- Regulatory testing;
- Scalability testing;
- Regression testing;
- Privacy testing;
- Usability testing;
- Among others.
Approaches to IoT Testing
Ensuring the high quality of IoT products and services is all about an innovative and well-calculated approach to conducting IoT testing. By such reason, it is essential to develop a carefully planned strategy and choose the suitable tools to guarantee that the tests are efficient and offer real results.
In general terms, a good infrastructure of IoT systems consists of four layers:
- IoT Device Layer: sensors, controllers and other connected devices that collect data.
- IoT Gateway Layer: Gateways, communication units that ensure connectivity and data transmission.
- IoT Platform Layer: physical local data centers or in the cloud (or back-end) that provides storage, aggregation, and data analytics.
- IoT Application Layer: User interaction software (or front-end) that provides reports and control resources.
Based on the complexity of IoT solutions and devices, one of the best practices to ensure efficiency is to create an IoT testing framework to visualize specific cases and organize the process as a whole.
In this context, the best approach is based on:
- Validation of all layers separately.
- Validation of multi-layer interoperability.
- Validation of the operation.
IoT Testing Challenges
Conducting IoT testing can be a challenge. Some aspects related to the connectivity, the compatibility and, specially, the security of devices usually are a quite common concern, as well as a reason why also errors and problems can arise during this phase.
The main ones are:
Ensuring customer privacy at all times is also another major challenge organizations face during IoT testing. In this case, it must be ensured that customers are not required to share personal data, such as their location or health status with other parties, unless it is necessary to provide emergency services or medical assistance.
Lack of standards
Since there are no common standards for IoT devices, IoT testing involves an extensive analysis process for each device or solution. Thus, understanding the overall performance of the system also becomes a challenge, after all, the testing phase becomes more complex and extensive.
To guarantee the security of the connected devices is fundamental, but even more important is to guarantee that security is maintained at all times.
To ensure security, IoT Testing involves different strategies that guarantee the data encryption between devices, while exploring all the possibilities that safe protocols offer (like TLS or SSL) and guaranteeing that only authorized users have access to resources.
In addition, one of the most common challenges in terms of security of IoT is to prevent the easy access to stolen devices, which reduces the risk of data breaches.
Most IoT devices, like smart cars, are not restricted to physical locations, but subject to mobility. This means that such devices cannot be tested at only one place, which means that they need to be sent to a lab or to an office.
The cost of IoT testing can become high due to shipping or leasing the required equipment to test certain devices (e.g., smartphones).
IoT Testing is a challenging process, especially when an application is tested across multiple devices at the same time.
In general, this makes it more complex to determine which device is causing the problem or if there are other issues related to the system, connectivity, or ease of use of the device.
A good way to ensure the use of different approaches and tools from IoT Testing is to invest in automatization while avoiding wasting time with manual tests.
Currently, different options are available in the market, and this has simplified the process of IoT Testing, while effectively meeting the needs of a company.