IoT Testing: Approaches, Challenges, and Tools

Joy Anderson -
IoT Testing: Approaches, Challenges, and Tools
Illustration: © IoT For All

The IoT industry is growing rapidly, and it is already a multi-billion dollar industry. However, the industry spends billions of dollars on recalling defective devices. And it is estimated that almost  $10 billion will be spent to recall defective devices by the end of 2022. If you don’t want to suffer from such losses, then you must conduct IoT testing. This will ensure all your devices and their functionalities work as expected and allow the entire IoT network to work in sync. Let’s take a look at IoT and then discuss various testing approaches and the IoT testing tools widely used.

What is IoT Testing?

IoT testing is a process that involves performing several tests on your IoT solution to ensure it is ready for real-life applications. The purpose of IoT testing is to find and fix vulnerabilities in your IoT solution so that you can be confident it will work as expected once it is deployed in the real world.

IoT testing has two primary components:

  1. Testing on a device: This is how most people think about IoT testing. You connect a device to a mobile phone or computer, run some software, and do some checks. It’s like running a VM on your device (which is what most people do).
  2. Testing with an emulator: This is where things get interesting. Emulators are programs that run on other machines, providing an environment where you can test your applications. For example, if you are building an app for various devices, you can use an emulator to test your app on your laptop without having to spend time setting up a development environment for each device type.

When you’re testing with emulators, it is important to understand what kind of hardware will support which tests and why they matter. IoT testing is a growing field that requires a variety of testing approaches.

IoT Testing Approaches

Before jumping into the types of IoT testing tools available, let’s look at some of the most common types of testing:

#1: Functional

This approach focuses on verifying that the IoT device performs its intended function, such as sending data to a cloud-based server.

#2: Performance

This type of validation involves measuring how well a product performs its intended functions under conditions that might not be realistic or optimal. For example, performance testing might involve measuring how well a sensor can detect motion in an office building before it goes off and causes false alarms.

#3: Regression

This test is conducted to make sure that, even if changes are made after deploying the app, its functionality will remain unaffected. 

#4: Integration

Integration testing ensures that all components in an IoT solution work together as intended.

#5: Security

This phase focuses on the extent to which the IoT device protects itself from hackers and other threats. It involves analyzing the system’s security features, such as access control and encryption, to determine whether they are adequate.

#6: Privacy

This phase examines how an IoT device handles data privacy, including whether it can encrypt sensitive data and what information it transmits to third parties.

#6: Usability

This phase determines whether an IoT device is easy to use, intuitive, and works well across a range of devices and operating systems.

IoT Testing Challenges

The main challenges that arise during IoT testing are the following:

#1: Security

The most important challenge faced during IoT testing is ensuring that the security of connected devices is maintained at all times. This involves ensuring that data passed between devices are encrypted using secure protocols such as TLS or SSL, that only authorized users have access to the resources they require, and that stolen devices do not go undetected for long periods.

#2: Privacy

Another major challenge faced by organizations during IoT testing is ensuring that customer privacy is maintained at all times. This includes making sure that customers are not required to share personal data such as location or health status with other parties unless necessary for emergency services or medical assistance.

#3: Lack of Standards

There are no common standards for IoT devices. Therefore, you must analyze it for every device. This will make it harder for you to understand the overall performance of your system. 

#4: Mobility

Most IoT devices are in remote locations and move around a great deal. This means that they can’t be tested locally and need to be shipped to the testing lab or office directly from their source location.

#5: Cost

Because many IoT devices require testing in a professional test lab or office, it can be quite expensive due to the cost associated with shipping or renting the equipment required for testing such devices (e.g., smartphones).

#6: Types of Devices

The other big challenge for IoT testing is that there are many different types of IoT devices, each with its unique features and capabilities. This makes it hard for testers to know what they’re looking for when they test a particular device.

IoT Testing Tools

IoT testing tools are available to help you test your IoT solution. The following is a list of some of the more popular tools available:

  • IoT Test Harness: This tool provides an easy way to create test cases for your IoT solution and collect data from the devices. It has several pre-built device templates, which makes it easy to test different types of devices. The tool also allows you to set up a simulated environment where you can simulate real users interacting with your product. The tool helps in creating automated tests that can be run on any device running an operating system (OS) or browser.
  • IoT Test Runner: This tool enables developers to run their tests on multiple devices at once and monitor their status easily. It also lets you pause or resume tests so that you can make changes between them without affecting other tests running simultaneously.
  • IoTIFY: This tool enables you to simulate real users interacting with your product by simulating conditions such as location, motion, and more, depending on which model is being tested (i.e., location-based service).

A Complex Process

IoT testing is a challenging process, especially when you have to test the IoT application with several devices at the same time. This makes it more complex to find out which device causes the problem or if there are other problems in your system. You will have to use different approaches and IoT testing tools when testing your application. For example, you can use manual testing by yourself or with help from other people if necessary. Or maybe you want to use automation tools. There are many different options available for testing IoT applications, but it all comes down to what works best for your business needs.

Joy Anderson - Tech Enthusiast, TatvaSoft

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.