Together with our partner BMW Motorrad, we look at a very successful testing past, present, and future. In one particular project we faced a lot of challenges, learning a lot from tackling them together, and improving our team coordination when it comes to testing IoT products from the automotive industry.
In our webinar last week, we talked about crowdtesting the BMW Motorrad Connected App and the challenges in developing digital IoT apps that support BMW motorcycles. We also discussed the benefits of Crowdtesting and tailor-made solutions like Bring-Your-Own-CrowdTM. If you weren’t able to join or would like to revisit some of the key points, here’s a recap from our webinar “Riding the Digitalization Highway in the Automotive Industry”.
The Non-Digital World of Motorbikers
Jann Kirchhoff, one of the speakers last week, is Product Owner of Connected Ride Apps & Digital Services at BMW Motorrad. In the development process for digital products, he represents the voice of the user community.
Jann started the webinar by painting the picture of what motorbiking is all about. It’s about being outside, racing, touring, sometimes being together on one bike for thousands of kilometers, or riding the entire weekend just for the pure joy of being on the road. The route is the destination. It’s an analog, dirty, and sometimes pretty isolated world, where digital features or wifi connections are not needed most of the time, or not even available.
BMW Motorrad started implementing digital features into this world in 2017. They introduced a TFT display, equipped with a multimedia controller. With this and a Bluetooth-compatible helmet, riders can connect their smartphone with their bike and the headset inside their helmet, enabling them to take phone calls or control their music through the display.
Additionally, BMW Motorrad launched the Connected App that allowed even more advanced functionalities like navigation, road tracking, vehicle information, etc. All of this needed to be designed in a way that doesn’t limit the riders fun, but rather further enhances the joy of being on the open road.
Getting Digital – Setting Up Testing Processes
In order to test the new app, BMW needed to overcome the limits of testing in a lab. Putting the customer first, they wanted to bring testing to the streets and get the opinions of their real customers and see how the app behaves in real-world conditions.
Testbirds came in to support BMW with its testing expertise. The only problem was that back in 2018 there were nearly no motorcyclists in the Testbirds Crowd, let alone motorbike enthusiasts, that had BMW bikes with the newest TFT display. In the webinar this was the cue for Jan Bode, International Community & Crowd Manager at Testbirds. He walked the webinar participants through the path of how he and BMW built up a whole new testing community - with only BMW Motorrad riders and pure motorbike fans.
How We Made Motorbike Enthusiasts Into a Worldwide Tester Community
The first step was to get in touch with BMW motorcyclists. Being motorbike enthusiasts themselves, the employees at BMW knew where to find them and pointed Jan in the direction of a Facebook community and a few motorbike clubs. There were many suitable testers, but also many challenges to overcome:
Many people have, unfortunately, not yet heard of a Crowdtesting company called Testbirds. And why would a motorbike rider (or anyone else) trust a company they’ve never heard of?
To build up trust with the new tester community, we worked closely together with Jann Kirchhoff from BMW Motorrad. He created explanatory videos, talking about BMW’s point of view and the importance of authentic testing processes, carried out with real users. Building trust was also helped by the possibilities of the Testbirds Exclusives solution Bring Your Own CrowdTM. It allows you to create a customized platform, with your own look & feel and a separate, dedicated tester community.
This way, when registering as a tester, the participants aren’t entering an unknown world, but a BMW Motorrad world where they feel comfortable and at home.
2) Weather conditions
The first test runs with the newly recruited tester community went really well, mainly consisting of European bikers. Before long, this had to be expanded to a global and international level, especially when a new beta version of the Connected App needed to be tested - and it was snowy all over Europe.
Jan, from the Testbirds Crowd team, started to recruit new testers from motorbike clubs all over the world. Now, we have 250 BMW Motorrad testers worldwide, in more than 30 countries, that test in all weather conditions. If it’s winter here, for example, our testers in Australia can test and ride their BMW bikes along the Sunshine Coast.
3) Different levels of technical comprehension
The average age of testers in the Testbirds Crowd is under 30. The average age of testers for BMW cars is 37. The average age of testers for BMW Motorrad is 48. In line with the traditionally analog nature of motorbiking, many testers in the dedicated BMW Motorrad tester community found that it wasn’t easy to tackle all the different test cases and tasks in the beginning. Therefore, we created a custom onboarding process for this dedicated tester group, including testing guidelines and special assistance for troubleshooting.
Continuously Bringing the Product to the Next Level
Today, Crowdtesting is a fully integrated test process in BMW Motorrad’s development cycles. With end-to-end tests, remote interviews and the Bring-Your-Own-CrowdTM concept, BMW creates digital products that their customers are really enthusiastic about and gets the most honest feedback possible - from their most important customers.
Sören Sdun, Customer Success Manager at Testbirds, phrased it like this in the webinar, “All of the riders that are testing for BMW are not on this testing journey for the money. They are involved emotionally and want to participate in the process of building better motorbikes – together.”
Sometimes, testing can happen very fast. Jann Kirchhoff ended the webinar with an anecdote of one extremely fast test cycle with Testbirds.
Back then, Jann told his contact at Testbirds about a new version of the BMW Connected App on a Thursday evening. Testbirds recommended an end-to-end test, set up the test case on Friday and informed the testers. The testers were excited to go out for a ride on the weekend and BMW Motorrad received the full test results on Monday.
Thanks to our enthusiastic testers we were able to conduct a rapid test suitable for speed freaks.
Do you want to know more about this topic?
We’ve got you covered. You can watch the full webinar below. You can also find out more about how BMW Motorrad and Testbirds align app distribution and quick iterations with the long-term product life cycle of motorbikes.
If you still have questions, feedback, or similar testing ideas, feel free to contact Fabian Goldstein, our Senior Account Manager Automotive at Testbirds.
We’d also like to thank Jann Kirchhoff and BMW Motorrad for the great, ongoing partnership and the very successful webinar last week.