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Harnessing the Power of the Crowd for IoT Testing

Amy Patt

IoT devices are here to stay; that’s good news for companies benefitting from the increasingly connected world we live in. The consumer demand and use cases for IoT is vast, which has prompted many businesses to invest in the technology. With more and more consumers using smart watches, smart refrigerators, smart doorbells and the like, it’s becoming an expansive, complicated ecosystem. Beyond the singular device, there is a network of devices that it connects to, creating a complex digital ecosystem that translates to subsequently complex software development and testing processes. So, how can companies ensure their IoT devices are being thoroughly tested for quality and functionality?

The sheer volume of IoT devices in people’s homes around the world makes it extremely challenging to scale this form of testing with internal teams alone. Crowdtesting is the most efficient way to test such a large pool of devices in diverse localities. Plus, there’s immense value in the insights of testers engaging with these products and devices in their homes, interacting with them as a typical user. The benefits of more flexible, on-demand testing with real people using real devices and hardware are undeniable.

In addition to the challenge of testing an enormous number of devices, a dynamic testing approach is needed to gauge the full range of functionality for each device. Testing for usability, compatibility, data integrity, performance, reliability and scalability should all be performed. For instance, crowdtesting in the healthcare industry helps to streamline the development cycles of glucose monitoring devices/sensors. Having crowdtesters use the device in their daily routine and generate data on activities like running, walking and sleeping, the internal teams can incorporate functional and usability feedback into the SDLC with a more agile approach.  

It might take internal development teams several rounds of testing before they have the feedback necessary to move forward in the SDLC. By utilizing the power of the crowd to deploy testing, all these tests could run in tandem, significantly decreasing the overall time needed to dedicate to testing. This is particularly noteworthy, because it could mean the difference between a testing cycle that lasts a few days compared to one that runs for months.

There are also different cultural nuances to consider that can influence the testers and impact the testing process. For example, media and entertainment companies release versions of products or streaming services that differ from one country or region to the next. Trying to scale an internal team of testers across a large geographic area could take months, and inherent bias could impact the outcome.

The diligent efforts of a diverse pool of multi-lingual, tech-savvy testers allow for more specialized, targeted feedback. Crowdtesters closely mimic an end user, and they can conduct more thorough testing for a streaming service and the connected devices and deliver region-specific, targeted results—without preconceived notions or bias that could influence the results.



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