How Software Quality Assurance Can Help Build Future Smart Homes?

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A recent report by MarketsandMarkets estimates that the Smart Home Market will be worth 137.91 Billion USD by 2023.

The report further discusses the factors triggering this growth stating that the increasing electricity costs are influencing the households to save energy. Smart home appliances can communicate among themselves and have emerged as an effective solution to save energy. Thus, households are increasingly adopting smart home appliances to minimize their energy costs.

The smart home market for home appliances is expected to grow at a high rate between 2017 and 2023, all thanks to the advancements in electronics and communication technologies. Moreover, aspects such as rising purchasing power and changing lifestyles of people are some of the major factors influencing smarter homes and cities. Changing climate conditions, and overall influence on consumer behaviour and choices is leading to tremendous transformations. As a result, the scenario in terms of the homes and the cities that we stay in is changing.

Get smarter implies that we optimize our energy sources effectively and build devices that automate human efforts. This connected and smart world needs smart devices that should be developed by taking every miniscule aspect into consideration. For instance, the implications of the word smarter can differ from culture to culture, and from one country to another.

The aspect of minimalistic living means that every facet of the house gets operated via applications that are loaded and integrated on a particular device. For instance, an application to turn off the lights, an application to regulate the thermostat, an application to turn on the fire alarm, and various applications for multiple notifications.

Nevertheless, it is required to ensure that these applications function effectively and under varying conditions to enable functioning of the devices. It is also referred to as Home automation that involves controlling the lights, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and security of the house. It can involve anything and everything that concerns smooth functioning of the home, right from washers, to ovens, to refrigerators. These operations should be easily controlled and monitored remotely as well.

For instance, in terms of security, if there is an intrusion in your absence then the alarm system must send a notification on your device or mobile. After the notification is received, there should be ways to send an alert to the cops to come and check for any theft or attack. Ultimately the overall security system has to be connected with the concerned authorities as well. Now, how do we ensure that every aspect falls in place and does what it is supposed to do?

Software Quality Assurance brings tremendous business value by helping enterprises and housing businesses who are creating these homes. In many ways and with varied methodologies, Software testing and Quality Assurance enables businesses to validate what they have created and what value it adds for them. Testing has to be performed keeping the key principles in perspective.

  • Connectivity

While testing connectivity, you need to test the communication factors across the major networking elements that will ultimately help to communicate with another device or component in the system. In this case you check the network parameters, whether the devices are connected via hard-wire connection, WAN, LAN, Wifi, or a cellular data provider. This will help you to estimate the kind of issues that might occur while these components communicate with each other.

  • Devices

It makes absolute sense to study the peculiar features of various devices that would connect within the system. This will give an idea of the probable issues that might occur while they connect with each other. Moreover, it’s the best way to estimate the device’s capabilities across varying conditions even in an external environment.

  • Computing system

The computing process of a system generally determines the behaviour and activity conducted on a mobile device, desktop, or a server. It influences the processes and the way the mined data is analysed. So, the computing system has to be tested to check whether it is making intelligent decisions within a specified system and effectively analyzing user behaviour.

A case in point is a real-life and real-time application that is fitted in a car’s navigation system and is connected to the hardware console of the car. It communicates with satellite signals for the navigation and then directs the vehicle in the required directions.

  • User-Device communication

This must be validated to ensure performance, security, accessibility, reliability, and ultimately user-experience. Moreover, in some cases it must be checked against the government-based standards that are aligned with various federal as well as local laws. It is important that QA teams test the integration of hardware and software on devices in the overall digital ecosystem.

For instance, if the house security system needs to send an alert to the cops at the nearest police station, the system must be tested for effective merging and integrations.

  • Data Security

While devices get connected with applications, a lot of data is generated that is highly confidential and sensitive. Hence, testing various nodes in a system is critical to ensure that the data doesn’t get leaked, and that effective firewalls are built based on the defined vulnerabilities. Privacy in many ways also means security, which is critical in a connected world. QA plays a major role in ensuring data privacy and network reliability in a virtually connected environment.

  • Ensuring user experience

What matters ultimately is the user experience (UX). UX and user satisfaction is very much important to drive the market dynamics and bring profitability for enterprises. QA enables user-experience validation, which helps test how a device, service, or system works. It can be achieved by analyzing the data that is collected from use cases, user experience write-ups, usability tests, and by studying the functionalities in the background.

In Conclusion

Whether it is smart homes, smart offices, or smart cities, it is critical in every way to ensure its performance and functionality to make it workable and relevant for the users. QA not only ensures that the system is functional, but checks it for security and accessibility under varying conditions. Sustainability of the system is sometimes more important than profitability.

Cigniti’s Digital QA service helps organizations in their Digital initiatives. Cigniti’s methodologies, techniques, and specialists ensure that the apps are thoroughly validated for UX and cover responsive web design patterns, screen resolutions, accessibility, usability, content, navigation, etc.

Connect with our Digital QA experts and build the right digital testing strategy for creating safe and smart systems.