The Internet of Things ... and You

  October 25, 2013

[caption id="attachment_14460" align="aligncenter" width="566"] Illustration by Heather Scoggins[/caption]

Over the last few posts in our series exploring the Internet of Things (IoT), we’ve looked at some of the ways in which the rising wave of smart, internet-enabled objects will dramatically transform the worlds of software engineering, development, and testing as we know them.  We’ve talked about smart cars and smart ovens, smart baby clothes and smart water treatment facilities—as well as the tools that will help intelligent objects to communicate and connect.  And, of course, this wouldn’t be a brave new world if we didn’t explore the potential problems that may arise in a world overrun by apps and the endless objects they control.

Indeed, the IoT onslaught has very clear downsides when it comes to the sheer data-overwhelm that will soon be upon us.  But if you happen to work for the intelligence community, there’s a silver lining to this cloud, as the tools of spycraft—like embedded cameras and microphones and 24/7 activity tracking—begin to pervade every home, public space, and office environment in the world, generating terabytes of big data to fill that shiny new NSA facility in Utah (whose welcome sign warns, ominously, “If you have nothing to fear you have nothing to hide”).

As for the ordinary IoT consumer, it all promises to be eminently practical and a lot of fun, as Corning’s famous “Day Made of Glass” videos suggest:

Still, no matter how you personally choose to parse the promise and perils of our imminent IoT future, anyone involved in software development can at least be certain of one thing—namely, that everything from smart rings to smart door locks will soon be putting entirely new demands on your time.  Whether you spend your days monitoring server performance or coding apps, the IoT revolution will soon be testing everyone’s patience as intelligent objects increasingly roll into our daily lives and, slowly but surely, learn to play well with other smart things.  As with all genuinely disruptive technological innovations, one should prepare for more than a few bumpy roads ahead.

That’s why companies such as ours are sitting up and taking notice, ensuring that the Internet of Things is helped along as efficiently as possible by the varieties of tools and software we provide.  In many ways, the potential problems posed by the IoT field are no different from those confronted by developers and testers every day.  As we all know, experimentation and trial and error define the vast majority of software development, with occasional bursts of creativity fueling the process along.  Every new project is its own unique beast waiting to be tamed, and we shouldn’t expect developing the programs that make smartwatches tick to be all that different from building any other app.  With the Internet of Things, the biggest challenge encountered by software developers and testers will, in all likelihood, simply be one of scale.

There are, after all, a lot of devices on the way.

But with the right software in your toolkit, your engagement in this fast-paced world can be made that much easier, and your own intelligence and creativity made to flourish—liberating your personal time and talents in all the ways that quality-assurance software exists to serve.  It’s safe to say that the current excitement surrounding the Internet of Things portends a genuine new era of innovation, and all of us at SmartBear are sincerely excited to be playing a crucial role in helping to bring its most positive, streamlined manifestations for our lives, our economy, and our shared future into being.

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