Between smart hubs, thermostats, security systems, lights, and everything in between, homes and offices are getting smarter. On average, a U.S. consumer owns just over seven connected devices (including smartphones and tablets), and nearly one in five owns a smart home device.
By 2018, analysts believe there will be more than 45 billion smart home devices in use across the globe.
We surveyed 2,600 early adopters of smart home products, who said that while they love the convenience of these devices, they want them to also be accessible and easy to use. They want them to be compatible with their existing devices, without having to deal with connection issues. They want a simple setup and a seamless experience.
But if you’re looking to launch a smart home device with an accompanying app, for example, right now you’re looking at more than 24,000 different smartphones on the market running competing operating systems (and different versions of these). You need to ensure that your app works properly with as many of these smartphones as you can.
In this increasingly complex technological landscape, beta testing becomes crucial to your product development process.
Your smart device cannot live in a silo. It is entering a connected ecosystem of devices and software. It’s also likely breaking new ground by adding technology to aspects of our lives that nobody expected technology to touch even as early as just last year.
As a result, you’re creating new customer experiences that integrate your groundbreaking product seamlessly into people’s everyday lives. Your device will need to work in an ecosystem that has no set industry-wide framework yet, and one that is constantly evolving.
With so many levels of complexities beyond just, say, a button that turns a device on or off, there are also more opportunities for complications and hiccups — especially in real-world settings.
A beta test takes your smart device and places it in the hands of real customers who will put your product to the test in real environments away from your QA team’s lab. It tests just how accurate and clear your messaging is right out of the box, allowing you to ensure that what your product delivers aligns with what your customers expect it to deliver.
After all, the biggest driver in the connected consumer market is to make the complex look effortless, and the press is shining a bright spotlight on the industry, looking to see who will come out on top as the big players.
With these forces in play, it has become more challenging than ever to launch a smart device that both impresses and delights your customers. If it fails to meet expectations, it could not only lead to the failure of the product, but also your company.
Beta testing mitigates this risk by allowing companies to engage with their target customers in a secure and quantifiable way. It facilitates a meaningful conversation in which you can gain direct feedback that addresses unforeseen issues before launch.
From bugs to imprecise setup instructions, a well planned and managed beta test will help polish your smart device before it is out the door and put under the scrutiny of the press and public.
For more information on how beta testing can help, you can download a recording of this week’s webinar on How to Beta Test Hardware in an Increasingly Complex World.