The phrase ’Internet of Things’, typically abbreviated as IoT, has been bouncing around in the tech industry for years. But there are still plenty of consumers—and even product company leaders—puzzling at its meaning. What is it? How does it impact the plain old “Internet” that I’ve grown to know and love? How does it affect my product, my business, and how my teams run tests?
Today, it seems like every app connects and integrates with the next. We can check out via PayPal, login via Facebook, and share content across all of our social media platforms at once. This interconnectedness helps people get more done in less time, leads to rapid growth for relatively young product companies, and creates a supportive ecosystem of well-crafted, well-tested applications. And all of it thanks to the essential bond, the tie that binds: the API (application programming interface).
Software companies work tirelessly to make their products as attractive and relevant as they can. One of the many ways they promote adoption and consistent use is through integration with other applications. When creating the code necessary to achieve this integration, engineers commonly refer to an API, or application programming interface. To put it simply, an API helps to define how components within both applications should interact.
Today, product companies are striving to lead in four key areas: Innovation, Efficiency, Accuracy, and Speed. Before automation technology was as common as it is today, CTOs, product managers, and engineering leads were slowed down by repetitive manual tasks — becoming truly efficient and innovative was a distant goal, something they could only discuss in abstract terms. Automation has put more power in the hands of developers, QA engineers, and the people who manage them.
Market competition and an emphasis on great user experience drives innovation. And today, companies are innovating at breakneck speed. As product and service companies scale up their development teams to embark on new, attractive features and match the pace of their respective markets, they also scale up their QA teams to match the increased workload.
Or do they?
Going to market with a perfectly functioning product is a great way to attract customers and cement relationships with them. And for many software product or service companies, that’s their goal.
But many others are resistant to the idea of allocating budget toward the thorough QA testing required to achieve that goal. Their reasons range from “Our developers are smart, they can test their own code” to “We don’t know if QA will provide good ROI.”
But, as the recent spike in data breaches and hacking has shown, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It’s widely known that thorough API testing results in a high-quality final product. One question that lingers for many product companies, however, has to do with timing -- when should API testing be introduced? For many top QA teams, the answer aligns with the increasingly popular Agile methodology. For a strong, robust product, API testing is best performed in parallel with development.
Today, it seems like we don't go a week without hearing about a high-profile hack or breach of customer data. As customers, we spread our information across a huge variety of applications, and we trust that no ill will come of it. The truth is, however, that we’re more vulnerable than ever, and the risk of a hack is made clearer to us everyday. We rationalize the situation, thinking, “Well, they must have people safeguarding my information, right?”
Right — for the most part.
For healthcare providers, mobile apps present an incredible opportunity to impact the lives of patients. In addition to providing patients with secure access to their health records and direct mobile interaction with healthcare professionals, these mobile apps can be true lifesavers. Consider the London boy who saved his unconscious mother with help from Apple’s Touch ID and Siri. Continued innovation in this space can change the way people think about seeking diagnosis and treatment, accessing and managing their health records, and reporting emergency situations.