With the Internet defining our lives through the use of smartphones and a myriad of web apps, we are ‘connected’ all the time. The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around for some time now. Amid all the talk of benefits of IoT and possible security vulnerability, the discussion has now shifted to finding ways to derive actual value from it. What’s more, industry experts are considering the fascinating possibilities stemming from the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT. Of course, this means that software quality assurance services have to gear up to take advantage of the opportunities.
The merging of two technologies
IoT encapsulates devices and services that connect to each other and share data to provide a certain functionality without needing human intervention every time. AI empowers IoT technology by mining available data, learning from it, and, best of all, making human decisions, thus maximizing the use of available technology.
You must have noticed that, when shopping online, the shopping site recommends products based on your previous purchases and browsing history. This is a classic example of predictive customer engagement – collecting customer data while they are logged in and accessing the website.
A formidable combination, wouldn’t you say?
The sky’s the limit for IoT + AI technology
Consider the benefits of AI and IoT in the field of health monitoring. Doctors can easily access the vital parameters of their patients and can be alerted in case of an emergency. Supercomputers are assisting physicians in recommending treatment for patients based on data mined from previous patient records and inputs from published research and specialists around the globe. On a similar note, environmental monitoring has tremendous benefits in terms of weather pattern prediction and timely alerts in case of impending disasters.
Already, there are visible benefits in the field of food production, with farmers using IoT technology through the use of GPS and sensors in the field which collect data in real time, collate it and help them decide on the best farming options. Coupled with the technology to predict weather patterns, farmers can use this information optimally to contribute to global food production.
Talking of IoT and AI together brings to mind the image of a robot; obviously, the field of robotics has benefited tremendously from the merging of these cutting-edge technologies. From automated vacuum cleaners to drones being used for aerial monitoring and delivery services, there are already more than 8 million robots in existence!
More ‘human-like’ robots are being designed so that they can interact socially with humans.
It is not surprising that personal assistant applications like Apple’s Siri and Windows’ Cortana are your new best friends; it is impressive, however, how easily you have accepted them into your lives!
However, with so much data being shared between devices and machines learning to think like us, there are bound to be concerns about issues like security and big data management.
Challenges (Opportunities) for software testing services
During the famous Gold Rush in California, the actual profit was made not by the prospectors but by the merchants who sold tools like pickaxes and shovels that were needed to dig for gold.
There is a life lesson to be learned from this. Software companies and software testing services stand to gain tremendously from the convergence of AI and IoT technologies.
Organizations around the world are busy assessing how IoT will impact their businesses and are gearing up for it. Tremendous product innovations as well as design and testing challenges are in the offing. IoT will affect software testing strategies as we know them now.
Of course, there will be opportunities to learn and innovate as test strategies will have to be expanded to cover more devices and their inter connectivity. Also, with so much data traffic and so many layers of devices interacting via the Internet, security vulnerability will prove to be a challenge for testers.
AI and IoT technologies are increasingly weaving themselves into our lives. Whether we like it or not, we are advancing towards this new world of inter connectivity and automated decision-making at a fast pace. How we harness this technology to maximize its benefits while ensuring user safety is up to us.