The Internet of Things and the Need for Software Testing

internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing – fast. It’s poised to have a huge impact on just about every market across the globe. That makes it easy to get caught up in the hype, so it’s certainly possible to overlook some of the most important elements needed to effectively take advantage of this trend. For firms to fully prepare for and benefit from the IoT’s potential, they need to pay close attention to the basics.

One case in point: the need for software testing solutions. The Internet of Things is complex and quickly evolving, and that will make software quality more important than ever.

The Internet of Things Growth

To appreciate the scope of this challenge – as well as the potential opportunities – it is first necessary to look at the Internet of Things as it stands today and where it’s headed.

Defining the IoT market can be tricky – different organizations use various parameters. No matter how exactly you define it, though, one thing is clear: The IoT market is huge and growing. According to Research and Markets, the global IoT market stands at around $157 billion this year. Using a broader scope, a recent IDC report valued this market at more than $650 billion in 2014, while Machina Research’s calculations ultimately figured that the IoT space was worth $892 billion as of 2015.

These analyses all suggest major growth is in store for the Internet of Things. Research and Market’s report projected a compound annual growth rate of 33 percent for the IoT market, which will reach $660 billion by 2021 in this model. IDC believes the IoT market will grow at a smaller but still very significant CAGR of 16.9 percent through 2020, when it will be valued at $1.7 trillion. And Machina Research believes that IoT-related revenue will total $4 trillion by 2025.

Beyond the financial side of things, it’s also important to recognize the complexity and size of the Internet of Things  itself. Gartner estimated that there will be about 6.4 billion connected “things” on the IoT by the end of this year – a 30 percent increase over 2015. By 2020, this figure is on pace to reach $20.8 billion. Even more optimistically, a Hitachi-sponsored piece for The Atlantic predicted that there will be more than $45 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020.

Software Quality in the Internet of Things

All of that goes to show how wide-ranging and comprehensive the Internet of Things  is becoming, and how much potential there is for companies to benefit. At the same time, though, there will be enormous pressure for businesses to develop solutions that can operate and utilize the IoT in the very near future. In fact, a recent report from O’Reilly emphasized that software, rather than hardware, forms the heart of the IoT.

It is already challenging for businesses to develop software that is optimized for performance across different channels and devices. The far greater complexity inherent to the Internet of Things  significantly increases the chances of software bugs popping up.

At the same time, the rapid rate of development in the IoT will likely exacerbate the tendency for companies to prioritize speed over quality when developing new software. As this infographic explains, such a trade off can prove very costly, even today.

Internet of things

View the full infographic here

So what is the solution?

An emphasis on software quality assurance, alongside effective software testing tools. As this previous blog emphasized, it is very possible for businesses to strike the right balance between speed and quality when working in agile, and that applies to the IoT, as well. The two keys to success here are investing in tools that make the testing and software quality assurance process simpler and easier, and also ensuring that everyone shares a commitment to quality over all.

Software quality will ultimately have an overwhelming impact on whether a given company can thrive in the IoT space or not. Embracing advanced software testing tools now, rather than later, will position firms for success.

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