COMPREHENSIVE TESTING COMPETENCY DEVELOPMENT FOR HOME SECURITY & AUTOMATION

BACKGROUND

Our client, a major U.S. telecom provider, was expanding their product line beyond telephone, TV and internet services to include internet-based home security and automation services. Their new product would allow consumers to proactively monitor, protect and manage their homes from their smartphones, tablets or PC’s, doing such tasks as raising or lowering the thermostat, watching live videos of the home, or even locking the back door, all from the other side of town. Simply put, customers would be able to secure and manage their homes from virtually anywhere.

THE CHALLENGE

The product includes a mix of sensors, controllers and cameras, front end software that runs on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops and back end software that runs on web servers, application servers, databases, and billing systems.

The product is complex, with many potential points of failure. Consider what happens if a customer’s smoke detector activates, or a window sensor detects a break. The system will need to take whatever action(s) the customer has programmed – blare a radio, sound an alarm, flash a strobe light, etc. In addition, the customer may program the 24-hour security monitoring team to receive a message to call preselected contacts, and if no one picks up, to dispatch a team, or firefighters, or police, depending on the nature of the alarm service. The test team has served as the central coordinator for the major testing activities related to the product. In addition to functional and integration testing of the various components and sub-systems, the product needed thorough end-to- end, user acceptance testing (UAT) of the fully integrated system, prior to product launch.

Our client had subcontracted significant parts of the product development to outside firms. Our client expected those firms to perform all of the necessary functional and integration testing, leaving only UAT to be handled purely by the client. However, when all the hardware and software components were integrated and initial UAT testing was started, serious problems were discovered.

THE SOLUTION

Q Analysts was brought in to centralize the integration testing activities and provide the testing competency to analyze and characterize the current issues, then create a comprehensive test strategy, test plan and test execution capabilities to help drive the project to a successful release. Q Analysts has been an integral part of our client’s product testing strategy for 24 months. The partnership is ongoing in functional and integration testing, as well as user acceptance testing, across a full range of product hardware (sensors, controllers, cameras), front end software (web, mobile web and native applications), back end software (web portal and more), and user devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops, PCs). Q Analysts team of test analysts have been responsible for a wide range of test activities: planning and executing test efforts; ensuring adherence to quality control practices; managing risks, dependencies and issues; and identifying and correcting all testing In addition, Q Analysts test team has helped create a low-maintenance, high-availability, custom automation framework as well as written thousands of test scripts.

Over the course of the first 18 months major issues and bugs were resolved, testing productivity increased and the entire product came together resulting in a successful product launch in 15 markets. By fall of that same year, the product had been expanded to 58 markets throughout the US, and it has continued to receive positive reviews in both the technical and user communities.

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