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Crowdtesting in the manufacturing industry

Smart home, voice control, and the connectivity between online and offline – the manufacturing industry is in the midst of a fundamental change. Only with flawless products and outstanding UX can you survive in the market. Crowdtesting gives you the decisive edge.

The Challenge Use Cases Crowdtesting

A man uses Testbirds services in the manufacturing industry
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The challenge

Creating smart devices that work perfectly in the real world

Connected, Internet of Everything devices are already impacting industries as diverse as agriculture, retail, education, healthcare, and many more. Devices can be worn on the body, connected to sensors in a factory machine, placed on a building to monitor vibrations. The breadth and scope of their use is unlimited.

These disruptive and transformative technologies are increasingly expected to improve lives and optimize the productivity and ROI of many businesses. But meeting such expectations has its own challenges.

Especially when it comes to effectively operating in real-world conditions.

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Customers, whether a family wanting a smart home, a farmer wanting to remotely test soil quality, or a giant manufacturing plant installing sensors to detect mechanical faults, all have elevated expectations about the connected devices they use. That they are secure and protect confidential information. They are compatible with a range of devices and operating systems. That they meet ever-changing regulations. That bandwidths are maximized, and associated data transfer costs minimized.

A home user may be just concerned that their smart watch connects to their phone’s app, however, a larger business needs to know if your solution can integrate with their legacy systems yet keep pace with technological change.

Security, in particular, is essential. Especially for physical devices linked to digital solutions. Making sure that your device is bug-free can help minimize avenues of attack!

In addition, it’s important to determine how resistant the device is to failure. What environments and temperatures can it operate in? Can it connect without issues? Has it been sufficiently tested to work with a variety of routers and under various loads and bandwidths? It is vulnerable to physical damage or attack?

And this is all before you’ve even considered basis usability and the customer experience. Are interactions simple and straightforward? Is setup manual or automatic? Does the user interface make sense and is intuitive? Your product may do everything as it should but if the customer has trouble using it or is frustrated with various aspects, it may simply be discarded.

Being certain that your device works as intended in various environments with diverse users and multiple devices is extremely important.

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The solution

Crowdtesting helps streamline and optimize your testing

Outside of your lab, you need to be confident that your digital solution will work as intended. Thankfully, even with all variables at play, our crowdtesting services can help ensure it does – while giving you the confidence that your device’s usability and functionality can create a lasting and positive user experience.

This is our primary aim. To help you develop solutions that your customers will love.

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To achieve this, we make use of our ability to source from our 1,000,000+ crowdtesters in 193 countries to find the ideal fit for the devices that you want to test.

Each crowdtester can be closely compared to your customer’s profiles, which can include broad criteria, such as age, gender, marital status, and location, or more specific criteria including the model of car they drive, their proficiency with any given technology, their exact occupation, homeowners or renters, the devices and operating systems they use, fitness levels, height, weight, and much more. Virtually anything is possible.

They can also be matched to the businesses and clients that you do business with, where the crowdtesters can conduct detailed B2B testing. We also offer Bring-Your-Own-CrowdTM testing, where you can use your own employees, clients, partners, or customers to test your solutions – and we set everything up and run the testing for you.

Either way, they can then use your solution in real-world conditions and provide unbiased feedback on its functionality, usability, connectivity, and compatibility. And any other aspect you need tested – at any moment throughout the customer’s journey.

This is the greatest differentiator from in-house testing. Everything can be tested in the exact conditions you expect your product to be used – well before your actual customers receive them. This helps to ensure you can develop a truly seamless and consistent customer experience. It’s also a fundamental reason that world-leading device manufacturers partner with us to manage their complex IoT software testing issues.

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Actual users, real-world conditions

Whether you’re developing a sensor that tells you when a power tool is available or needs maintenance, a retail device that determines the most visited areas of a store, a smart door opener that works via a smartphone, or an IoT device that collects data from sensors on a factory floor to reduce waste, it’s essential that the device is secure, safe, and works as it should in the conditions it is intended for. Without fail.

Testing in a lab-only situation – already a labor-intensive and expensive proposition – means you can easily miss issues that will occur in the outside world. If the door doesn’t open, is it the phone? A physical issue with the gate (maybe a package is blocking the door)? An electrical fault? Identifying such issues requires real-world testing. With our impartial crowdtesters, or through our Bring-Your-Own-CrowdTM solution that lets you use your own employees and customers, you can receive the real-world feedback you need to fix problems before your product is released, identify areas for improvement, avoid built-in bias and analysis paralysis, and provide a device that your customers, whether B2B or B2C, will love.

This is what we’ve already achieved for our clients across multiple industries around the world and what we can do for you.

Smart sensor testing

We thoroughly test the functionality and connectivity of your devices on an extensive range of vehicles, machines, and even people in locations from around the world.

Smart home testing

By putting your smart home devices directly in the homes of our crowdtesters, we help ensure that the user experience is optimized, and everything works as it should.

Smart industry testing

By sourcing testers that directly match your customers, whether B2B or B2C, they can check for usability issues no matter how specific and specialized your digital solutions are.

How we’re helping to keep everyone connected

Smart Sensor Testing: Making the right connections

Installing any connected device into or onto a secondary machine, or connecting to a permanently installed device, comes with a variety of challenges. Not only does the device need to operate in a variety of conditions, but it must also seamlessly connect to any given app or other digital services.

These were the issues faced by two of our clients, one a leading manufacturer of hand-held power equipment and the other a multinational engineering and technology company.

The first had developed an add-on device that would be permanently attached to a power tool and connected to their app.

The first had developed an add-on device that would be permanently attached to a power tool and connected to their app. The device would then send specific data to the app and inform the user (or company) whether the tool required maintenance and/or was available for use. In addition, multiple connected tools could network and provide comprehensive information for all devices. Data would be sent to the app when it was near the tool and then synced with their online portal.

To help ensure their devices were able to consistently connect with their app, that the app’s interface was user-friendly, and that all data was collected and intuitively displayed, our testers conducted a range of tests, including a structured bug test, a regression test, and exploratory bug tests, which included answering questions about usability and the user experience.

Our second client gave us two tasks. The first was to test their online portal, and the second was to test their app for the connected sensor on their e-bike. Because the online portal provided access to numerous services to both businesses (for fleet management) and individual customers (to manage their various tools), comprehensive customer journey testing was essential. We also followed this up with bug testing, remote UX interviews with B2B testers, and multiple interviews regarding their website’s content with crowdtesters from multiple countries, including Germany, the USA, Canada, Mexico, and China.

For their e-bike solution, which connects to a variety of bike components, such as the battery, motor, and control unit, it was essential to test that all data sent from the device to the app was dependable and accurate. Especially because this also helped enable navigation and route planning, fitness tracking, and even the ability to lock the e-bike’s motor. Additionally, that the user interface of the app was clear, understandable, and could receive data from any location.

Crowdtesters had the flexibility and equipment to make all this possible.

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Smart Home Testing: Real places, real people

There’s little doubt that the huge boom in smart devices for the home is resulting in a huge range of different devices being developed. From ovens that can be managed via Amazon’s Alexa, to connected vacuums, kitchen implements, security systems, heating and cooling, lights, and much more.

This is where crowdsourcing truly comes into its own. With the range of different devices, apps, and online services and websites connecting with one-another, every home or business space takes on unique challenges. Then factor in the incredibly diverse range of people your device will be used by, all with a different language, culture, level of technical knowledge and internet access, and more.

This makes it even more important to ensure that your device can work properly in their space and their conditions.

This makes it even more important to ensure that your device can work properly in their space and their conditions. For example, you may have tested your product in a modern, tech-filled home in a warm climate, such as Spain, but can you be sure it will also work in a 150-year-old home with solid brick (if not granite) walls and a basic internet connection in the middle of a German winter?

It’s these sorts of problems many of our clients present us when testing their smart home devices. For one client, that involved using 50 testers to check on functional and compatibility issues during each update of their connected cooking solution. As they’re well-established throughout Europe, this involved users from multiple countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Each tester then conducted 10 pre-determined use cases, where they logged bugs, defects, and compatibility issues while also reporting on the product’s software during their daily use.

Such real-world IoT device testing with a diverse group of testers, whether for a new solution or updates to an existing one, can quickly discover issues that could never been found with limited in-house testing.

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Smart Industry Testing: Perfecting the user experience

Knowing that your physical device works as intended is often only half the battle. That people can actually use it is the other. Especially when it comes to connected digital solutions. Is the digital application intuitive? Are instructions clear, relevant, and comprehensive? Does it enable users to do what they need to do?

This was the challenge for our client, a global technology leader, and their web application, which enabled the commissioning and maintenance of their electric drive technology solutions that are used across machine and plant engineering. Whether low voltage motors or those with the highest performance, the web app could help users control certain machines in their production lines.

To ensure their web application did exactly as it was intended, we utilized our exclusive Bring-Your-Own-Crowd™ IoT testing solution.

To ensure their web application did exactly as it was intended, and that all usability issues were noted and addressed, we utilized our exclusive Bring-Your-Own-Crowd™ IoT testing solution to select actual users of their products to test the new application.

To test the web application, 13 testers were selected from multiple countries (Germany, India, Italy, China, and the United Kingdom) to participate in 60-minute Remote Interview sessions as they worked their way through the app. At every step they were asked to ‘think out loud’ and comment on what they were seeing and as they walked through the setup of a motor for a specific device, such as a conveyor belt or pump application.

Through operation modes, setting limits, working out the digital input and output for I/O settings, and much more, each user provided feedback on functionality, usability, and the overall experience. Our client could then take our recommendations to fix specific issues and optimize their application – based on feedback from their very own users – before the system went live.

Regardless of the people you need, or the type of software testing you want, we can make it possible.

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How we support you

All features, great and small

To ensure your devices, and the software running on them, consistently works as intended, our flexible and scalable crowdtesting services can make sure it’s ready to go the moment it’s needed. Whether it’s a device for home or office, a car or bike, something to be worn, or intended for industrial IoT use, our crowdtesters can help ensure it works as intended. If not better.

Thoroughly test your IoT devices and their features in real-world condi­tions with our care­fully selected testers
Receive detailed usability feed­back and insights into actual con­sumer behavior to ensure that your smart con­nected devices are secure, access­ible, and optimized
Use our software testing services to ensure all your digital products, includ­ing third-party apps, deliver a seam­less and user-friendly experience
Streamline your IoT test­ing and optimize your time-to-market and develop­ment flexi­bility – all while maxi­mizing your existing resources
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The sum of its parts

Insights

We provide you with the latest insights from the world of crowdtesting

Stop guessing if your product meets the expectations of your users and start making decisions based on facts.

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Get in touch

Do you have questions about testing in the manufacturing industry?

Would you like to have more information on how we can help you make your digital products even better? Just send us a message, one of our solution consultants will be happy to get in touch with you.

Challenges

The biggest “pains” in the manufacturing industry

Connectivity between different devices is the crux of the manufacturing market. Whether it’s a robot vacuum cleaner, smart refrigerator, or intelligent kitchen appliance – without a functioning connection to the internet and, if necessary, an app, they can’t develop their full potential and will end up no longer being “smart” but merely an ordinary household aid.

Are you thinking about voice control for your digital product via Alexa, Siri or other intelligent assistants? If so, it is essential that you pay close attention to ensuring that the control system integrates as naturally as possible into the language used by your users and doesn’t require a complicated sequence of defined terms to achieve its goal. Learn more about our Chatbot Testing Services.

Finally, it’s also important to take users’ security concerns seriously. The topic of data protection is becoming the focus of public attention. Here, of course, it’s important that you take appropriate protective measures. But how your end users receive them is as crucial. Does the environment of your digital product convey security and trustworthiness? Bugs and errors within your digital solutions can very quickly lead to a loss of trust among your users.

How we support you

Three hands-on examples

Real user testing for flawless connectivity

Different devices, various software versions, a variety of internet providers with diverse broadband speeds. These are all factors that affect the interaction and usability of your digital products. And all of these are also factors that are difficult to replicate in a virtual environment. That’s why we rely on tests with real users under real conditions. Learn more about the advantages of crowdtesting.

QA and UX – to avoid security concerns

Security concerns are one of the biggest inhibitors to using smart devices. Errors and bugs can quickly destroy trust in your product and prevent the success of your solutions. User experience is also a key contributor to whether or not your potential customers perceive your product as trustworthy. With crowdtesting, you can not only uncover bugs, but also gain insight into the thoughts of your users. The perfect combination of QA and UX: Our BugAbility Service.

Numbers, data, facts – Open compatibility is what users want

Before entering the world of smart home gadgets, you should be aware of one simple fact: There are manufacturers whose smart home components do not cooperate, or have limited compatibility, with those of other manufacturers, and there are those who rely on a multi-compatible control via app or browser. In fact, the latter is at the top of the wish list of those we surveyed. Furthermore, your customers want devices that are easy to operate and install.

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what we can do for your industry?

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