Companies that succeed in IoT will be those that cross the chasm toward mainstream acceptance through rigorous attention to quality. Imagine the challenge of launching a technology product that has to work on Windows, Mac, iOS, and various Android variants. Now multiply that complexity by 1 billion. That’s the challenge manufacturers face in the coming age of the Internet of Things.
All the variables involved makes IoT-related quality and usability absolutely brutal to achieve. But quality and usability are characteristics, as Crossing the Chasm author Geoffrey Moore has written, that ultimately determine which technology products win broad adoption, and which ones fall by the wayside. Therefore, before you even think about launching your connected product, you must have a solid plan to achieve the quality and usability that will push your product over the chasm to ubiquity.
Without robust regression testing, however, it’s impossible to know what you need to about the quality and usability of your product. And with the IoT, your regression-testing process must cover not only your connected product, but also its interaction with the cloud and with the mobile or web apps controlling it.
Testing everything about every “thing” means:
- Test everything about the device: device properties, serial protocol, schedules, power modes, connectivity,y and over-the-air (OTA) communications.
- Test everything about the cloud: performance, reliability, scalability, security, data governance and data privacy.
- Test everything about the mobile or web apps: backward compatibility, lifecycle, and CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete).
- Test everything about how all the pieces work together, from one end to the other: for handoffs, continuity, and coordination.
Don’t add extra headaches to your testing processes. No matter what whiz-bang features a proprietary solution might offer, it’s not worth the hassle of trying to ensure that proprietary approaches will operate at all the levels needed for IoT product performance, reliability, or security. For your own sanity, and for the quality and usability of your products, stick with standards wherever possible.
The real gold of the IoT lies in harnessing the data that connected products generate. Data analytics creates actionable business intelligence you can use to iterate and enhance your products and services, as well as to forge closer ties with your customers. The use of data analytics can also be extended to manufacturers’ dealers and service representatives, or others in charge of maintaining or repairing end-user devices.
Make sure you think through—and test—where the data goes, who has access to it, how it moves around, and how it’s controlled for every level of operation of a connected product. The reward at the end of all this testing should be IoT products better able to cross the chasm and achieve the market success you envision.
David Friedman is the CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks. Prior to founding Ayla Networks, David served as Vice President, business development for ZeroG Wireless, a company providing low-power Wi-Fi products to the embedded space. David has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BA from Colgate University; he holds five U.S. patents.