Testing has the potential to change the way customers and manufacturers engage with a product. These days, if a product doesn’t work immediately upon arrival, clients will have no qualms sending it back. To them, it must be broken—even if it’s not.

But automated testing can change that, not only ensuring that bugs are caught before arrival, but inspiring customers to try other troubleshooting methods before returning it as “faulty.”

Here’s the problem: automated testing can be expensive to execute and even harder for some businesses to maintain.

This is where the Cloud comes in.

Cloud-based infrastructure makes it possible for companies to implement automated testing protocols in-house at much lower costs.

I know, because I’ve done it.

Use the cloud to bridge development and production

At Blue Clover Devices, we’re using open-source software and cloud-based architecture to create automated testing specific to each device our clients manufacture. We’re able to easily and affordably update the software to account for new features—or newly discovered issues. All within the four walls of our own workshop.

Here’s a few things to consider about the impacts of this method:

Automated Testing in IoT devices is crucial.

We’ve all been there—frustrated because our new FitBit or universal remote isn’t doing what it’s supposed to even though it’s fresh from its packaging.

I had this frustration myself recently when trying to install cable internet in my home. I ordered the specified modem from Amazon, made the appointment for the Comcast installation, and then was horrified when nothing would work.

The Comcast installer told me I most likely had a faulty modem and would have to send it back—at a cost to both the company’s revenue and my time and energy.

It wasn’t until I was packing everything back up that I noticed a sheet telling me to call customer support if I had problems with the modem. The service representative walked me through a few simple steps to get the system reset, and then we were up and running.

But imagine if I hadn’t seen that sheet of paper.

Imagine if you were a company that couldn’t afford a 24-hour customer service line.

Automated testing catches problems like these before the modems even go out the door, cutting the cost of a 24-hour service line entirely while salvaging customer sentiment and potential RMA costs. Perhaps most importantly, automated testing ensures the most seamless experience for the customer.

People will be more likely to keep and enjoy your product—even recommend it to others—if there aren’t issues with the hardware upon purchase.  

But high costs have kept the service out of the hands that need it.

Current systems for automated testing are expensive because they’re built on top of existing software that comes with its own cost.

For example, the major players offering automated testing services to companies build their software on top of Microsoft Windows. This means you have to pay for the cost of the testing software in addition to the cost of Windows—and keep up with separate updates for the two.

Stacked costs like these create barriers to widespread automated testing infiltration.

Open-source software, however, is available at a considerably more amenable price point—generally free.

The benefit here is you not only have something that’s far more accessible to a smaller business looking to implement automated testing, but open-source software is more malleable to your specific needs than an established entity like Windows.

When we were designing our automated testing software at Blue Clover Devices, we used a Raspberry Pi, a small, low-cost computer meant specifically for programming experimentation. With this, we were able to build the tests we needed for our products within the budget we were confined to. We were also able to build our testing using cloud-based architecture, making it accessible from anywhere and considerably easier to update as new changes and tests came up.

As a growing company, this has been a serious game-changer.

Which is why Cloud-based architecture solves the accessibility problem.

By pairing cloud-based architecture with open-source software tools, we’ve been able to provide the best possible experience both for our customers and for production operators.

We don’t ask our customers to install any software on their end, but we’re still able to give them a device that’s been tested on real hardware for functionality, reliability, and, most importantly, safety.

With cybersecurity a growing concern among the general population, it’s critical for a customer’s trust in a brand to know their privacy is being protected, and that the requisite tests were conducted to ensure it.

With the former system for automated testing, the cost for providing this level of quality was prohibitive to smaller ventures. And still, things managed to slip through.

Previously, the configuration of automated testing was carried out in remote manufacturing facilities where there was no way to check that the required protocols were being met.

Cloud-based automated testing makes it possible to bypass all kinds of breaches. Everything is maintained in-house, and making sure that tests are done correctly is as simple as checking the logs for a particular device on a particular day.

All without the added cost of paying for an outside entity to do the manual testing.

This new model for automated testing makes it possible for smaller companies—or those on a tight budget—to achieve better results than the larger players at a fraction of the cost.

However you look at it, the Cloud is positioned to alter automated testing for new and existing players alike—and everybody benefits.