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IoT Testing: Framework, Challenges, Case Studies & Tools 2024

Cem Dilmegani
Updated on Jan 11
3 min read

Though the IoT industry is growing with numerous applications, the industry spends billions on recalling defective devices. IoT testing ensures that each device performs all its functionalities, thus allowing the entire IoT network to work collaboratively and deliver value to the business as intended.

In this article, we explain was IoT testing is, what are the testing approaches, and look at some case studies.

What is IoT testing?

IoT systems have 4 components:

  • Applications
  • Back-end/Data centers
  • Networks
  • Sensors

IoT testing is the process of checking each component of an IoT system by applying common testing methods.

What are IoT testing approaches?

IoT testing framework

The chart above highlights the possible testing approach scenarios for different components of IoT systems. Some common testing types are:

Performance testing

This includes Network and Gateway (protocols like MQTT, CoAP, HTTP, etc.), back-end (database, processing, analytics), and the application components. The speed of the network communication model and the embedded software system’s internal computation capabilities are tested in this approach.

Security testing

This involves both securing the devices themselves and the networks or cloud services they are connected to.

Compatibility testing

IoT devices have a range of software and hardware configurations. As a result, compatibility testing is crucial for testing teams.

Functional testing

This includes the testing of all functional use cases of an IoT application.

Usability testing

This ensures the end-user can easily use the system. Usability testing can be subjective; therefore, completing multiple usability tests is recommended.

Usability testing applies to sensors in terms of ease of installation and setup as well as durability and reliability. This is especially important for wearable sensors. For example, a non-reliable heart rate monitor may cause more harm than good by making the user nervous with false positives.

Other testing approaches include

  • Application localization
  • API
  • Data Integrity
  • Reliability and scalability
  • Compliance
  • Network Connectivity
  • Device Interoperability

What are the challenges of IoT testing?

Challenges businesses may face during IoT testing include:

Complex use cases and real-time responsiveness

Defects in applications may impact organizations’ productivity. However, this may require testing for a large number of scenarios. For example, in a smart factory where each machines are inter-communicating, data loss at any point could cause delays in the production line and, therefore, negatively affect the business’s ROI.

Diversity of IoT devices and platforms

The inclusion of diverse firmware and operating systems makes it difficult to test every possible hardware and software combinations.

Explore IoT devices in more detail.

Diverse IoT communication protocols

For communication of IoT devices, there are a diverse set of protocols to test, such as Extensible Messaging, Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and Presence Protocol (XMPP).

Explore IoT communication protocols in more detail.

Resource limitations

Your existing resources may lack memory, processing power, bandwidth, battery life, etc.

A large number of sensor interactions

IoT ecosystem involves thousands of sensors. This forces testers to perform tests at scale.

Security concerns

Since all tasks are operated through connection to a network, there is always security concerns.

How does the IoT testing landscape look like?

Testing service of IoT devices can be delivered by different types of companies, including

  • IoT testing service providers: There are testing vendors that are only specialized in testing IoT devices and software.
  • Software testing companies: These companies have expertise in testing, yet, IoT is not their only specialty. These companies also mostly offer Q&A and testing automation to clients.
  • IoT consulting companies: Though some IoT consultants focus only on IoT strategy formulation, product design, or hardware/software consultation, there are consultants that deliver end-to-end consulting services (including ideation, strategy, application development & testing)

What are example IoT testing case studies?

Vendor NameApplicationHardware/ Software TestingCase StudyResults
QualitestSmart home monitoring systemBothFunctional testing
-Over 99% crash free user sessions for Android and iOS mobile applications was achieved -2-week test cycle was achieved -Right-shoring (including a mix of in/out sourcing) significantly reduced cost
ScienceSoftSmart logisticsSoftwareFunctional, regression and localization testing-Reduced implementation costs

For more on IoT

To learn more on IoT, feel free to read our comprehensive research on the topic:

Finally, if you believe your business would benefit from an IoT platform, head over to our IoT hub, where we have data-driven lists of vendors for multiple IoT dimensions.

And if you still have questions on IoT testing, don’t hesitate to contact us:

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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