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Challenges of Testing an IoT Application.

Author: Michael Wade
by Michael Wade
Posted: Sep 26, 2016
iot application

The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its related technologies and software applications has confronted the testing teams with a number of challenges. With IoT, where most of the everyday objects communicate with each other, and where technologies upgrade every other day, new challenges have emerged for the software testing industry.

For any given software project, QA teams need to ensure that a single app functions as designed and performs as per the user expectations. As the IoT devices seamlessly connect and communicate with a wide variety of platforms, devices and operating systems, the additional stress on the testing team is enormous. However, such challenges are completely outweighed when it comes to the security challenges posed by the software architecture of the IoT application. With innumerable devices connected to each other in the IoT, there are numerous potential attack vectors that can be exploited by the cyber criminals. If cyber criminals were to tamper with the settings of such devices, the consequences could be highly devastating.

With the amount of detail that needs to be covered in an IoT testing , having a list of critical QA priorities is very important. Such priorities need to cover the length and breadth of the challenges of IoT testing.

The different areas of testing an IoT application are as follows:

  • Functionality: Web/UI, embedded and back-end computing.

  • Compatibility: Multiple Configuration, Protocol and product Versions, Backward Compatibility and Mobile OS.

  • Connectivity: Communication between the devices, third party applications and the infrastructure.

  • Performance of the network, communication and internal computation.

  • Exploratory: Rare scenarios and beyond functional requirements and structured testing.

  • Security: Privacy, Autonomy and Control.

The top challenges and solutions that the QA can enlist are as follows:

-The convergence of Hardware and Software: The ecosystem of IoT is made of devices, sensors and applications. When it comes to millions of sensors and devices in conjunction with intelligent software, only functionality validation is not enough.

-Additional factors along with a working system: IoTworks with sensors and devices communicating with multiple software back-ends with complex algorithms.It is not only enough to ensure a working set of device software. It requires a robust validation process with extremely complex real time scenarios. Obtaining such scenarios is an extreme challenge for the QA team.

-Sensor Interactions: The biggest challenge lies in the creation of an environment in order to test the real-time implementation of the IoT application. Setting up such an environment requires numerous analytics engine and a significant experience in technical simulation. Although the hardware and the protocols are well tested beforehand, understanding the application intelligence and the device complexity is an extremely big challenge for the QA experts.

-The device interaction layer: Here the software and hardware components interact in a real-time IoT environment. Their conformance to standards, interoperability, backward compatibility and security are the additional challenges in addition to typical software testing.

-The user interaction layer: The success of the overall application depends on the user receiving a seamless experience. The main testing challenges include the simulation of network modes along with device level validation, the real time usability along with the back-end IoT environment.


The IoT ecosystem puts forward a plethora of testing challenges . These challenges can be thought of as opportunities to build new solutions. Some of these new solutions are Protocol Simulators, Data Recorders and Service Virtualization. The software industries need to empower their QA team with reliable IoT products and services. It is important for the QA teams to upskill themselves beyond the traditional functional testing and get ready for the integrated testing of such embedded software.

About the Author

Michael works for Cigniti Technologies, which is the world's first Independent Software Testing Company to be appraised at CMMI-SVC Level 5, and an ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 27001:2013 certified organization.

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Author: Michael Wade

Michael Wade

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United States

Member since: Aug 26, 2015
Total live articles: 100

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