As consumers increasingly rely on intelligent devices – home security systems, connected cars, fitness bands, patient monitoring systems and more – businesses must ensure the robustness of their digital solutions, both on a standalone basis as well as how these solutions interact with other devices, apps and systems.
Traditional testing methods aren’t up to these tasks, particularly as sophisticated smart devices increasingly operate within an ecosystem. For instance, many home security users begin by interacting with just a few sensors and monitoring only the alerts on the display. As their fluency increases, they might begin controlling the system through their mobile phone or desktop and even through a digital assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.
Additionally, with continuous advances in hardware, software, wireless protocols and mobile OS versions, smart device ecosystems are exploding with numerous combinations, demanding significant time and effort to ensure interoperability.
Testing all these variations and interactions is not possible with traditional testing methods, which are manual, expensive and time-consuming. Without automation, product affordability suffers, and time to market is too slow to keep up with required digital innovation speeds.
Personalized Testing Robots
Enter TEBOT, a personalized testing robot we developed to accelerate the quality assurance (QA) process of smart devices. Here are some of the capabilities of this automated testing solution:
- Certifying a fitness tracker: A manual tester would need to run a marathon every day to generate the data necessary to certify the smart device and accompanying mobile apps. Obviously, this is not feasible, and even if it were, it would not produce reliable data. At our Internet of Things (IoT) QA labs, TEBOT assumes the avatar of an accomplished marathoner, running at a 3.5-hour marathon pace, testing the physical device while also validating the associated wellness app on the mobile device. It then repeats the test, this time in the avatar of a senior citizen, executing the testing process of the device and its data at a slower pace.
- Testing a smart home device: Because home security systems operate in an ecosystem, QA tests need to be repeated multiple times with different versions of hardware and software. To speed this certification process and make it more efficient, TEBOT opens doors, triggers motion sensors and even simulates water leaks and glass break situations to test the system. TEBOT stress-tests the smart device by repeating the same task numerous times with more than 97% execution accuracy and 100% defect reproducibility. It also speaks, mimicking the gender and age of a wide range of humans to help certify a personal voice assistant and validate “skills” written for Amazon’s Alexa.
- Testing a car infotainment system: With an average automobile lifetime of five to six years, OEMs increasingly need to ensure the compatibility of the car’s digital system with the continuously evolving new-age digital devices customers use, such as mobile phones, the apps installed on them, navigation and many more. TEBOT interacts with automobiles’ system touchscreens and validates personalization features, such as Pandora settings, the Point of Interest for Google Maps navigation, voice commands, etc. TEBOT also verifies the Android Auto and Car Play capabilities of the system across mobile devices connected to the system through automated tests.
Accelerating Smart Device Certification
In all these cases, no human interaction is required to test interoperability conditions across various versions of the smart device and mobile OS versions. Driven by APIs, TEBOT accelerates smart device certification by automating hardware and software components of the ecosystem. Its API-based architecture also enables TEBOT to be seamlessly integrated with automation tools such as Micro Focus’s Unified Functional Testing, WorkSoft, Selenium and more to enable end-to-end automation of IoT use cases.
At our IoT QA Lab, we’re working with multiple clients to certify smart devices in shorter timeframes and at lower cost. For instance, a leading U.S. telecommunications company used TEBOT to reduce costs by 52% and launch new products three times faster.
As smart devices become more interconnected and intelligent ecosystems grow, automated testing will only become more important. Automated testing bots like TEBOT will be essential to the ongoing evolution of the IoT-driven future.
Subbiah Muthiah, Director in Cognizant’s QE&A Practice, contributed to this blog.