Firmware Testing and Compliance

Compliance with industry standards is not something you can neglect or do later; it is an integral part of the embedded software (SW) development process. For some industries, such as avionics, automotive and healthcare, strict adherence to quality standards in the development of complex and trouble-free embedded systems is becoming a vital condition for bringing a product to market. Traditionally, testing has played an important role in the development of embedded systems for standards-driven industries. However, in recent years, established practices and testing processes, their place and role in such projects have changed significantly. It has dramatically changed all the rules of the game, and when the rules of the game change, you have to change with them in order to win.

With new, state-of-the-art technologies constantly evolving, companies need to quickly bring products to market that are reliable, secure, easy-to-use, and interoperable – just so they don’t get lost in the fast-paced technology world. In such a situation, the traditional waterfall model, where the software development process is strictly sequential and testing is performed at the very end of it, is becoming a thing of the past. DevOps and Agile methods are gaining popularity because they allow engineers to perform tasks that used to follow each other at the same time.

Commitment to innovation

With a constant shortage of time, manufacturers still cannot sacrifice the quality, reliability and safety of their product. For example, unmanned vehicles, which are widely discussed today, are a source of increased danger, which means that they require strict adherence to standards. Embedded testing is a must as well, as almost all IoT and Connectivity solutions are based on embedded technologies.

All industries strive for innovation, rapid development and parallelization of processes, and this makes firmware testing even more important. Healthcare, where standards are traditionally very high, is characterized by a huge demand for complex and ultra-precise algorithms – such as, for example, the automatic heart rate recognition algorithm for an innovative defibrillator, which Auriga engineers are currently working on. New smart hospital systems, smart medical equipment and wearable devices that appear almost every day need to be safe and reliable.

Speaking of security, one cannot fail to mention the sphere of finance and the growing interest in biometrics. Fingerprint and retinal scanning, voice and face recognition are what will be used to identify users instead of the usual passwords that we are so used to. But before allowing firmware to scan your retina, manufacturers need to make sure it is compliant and resilient to cyber threats that are getting bigger and more sophisticated these days.

Performance Testing

During the performance testing phase, first of all, load testing is carried out, the purpose of which is to check whether the system will adequately respond to external influences in a mode close to the real operation mode.

In addition to load testing, tests are carried out under conditions of minimum hardware and maximum load – stress testing, as well as tests under conditions of maximum volumes of processed information – volume testing.

There is another type of testing: stability and reliability testing, which includes not only a long-term test of a software product under normal conditions, but also its ability to return to normal operation after short periods of stress loads.

Documentation for testing

For testing, a test case is developed, which should contain enough data to test all modes of operation of the software product. Usually, a test case is created jointly by the customer and the contractor based on real data.

To conduct all types of performance testing, a so-called data generator is most often created, which allows you to automatically create a sufficient amount of data to achieve an objective result when evaluating performance.

During the testing, a testing protocol is drawn up, where information is entered on the passage of all stages and steps of testing and the comments received during the tests.

If the test result is negative, the deficiencies are corrected and retested.

Exploratory testing

Exploratory testing (ad hoc testing is a subspecies of functional testing. It is used in fast-growing projects with flexible development methods, where there are no clear documentation and requirements. Exploratory testing is the pinnacle of software testing. High-quality testing is available to highly qualified specialists and almost completely depends on performer, his experience, knowledge (both in the subject area and in testing methods), the ability to quickly penetrate the essence.

Test Automation

The main feature of automated testing is the ability to quickly conduct regression tests. The main advantages of automation (according to the Worksoft company report) are increased staff efficiency, earlier detection of defects and higher quality of business processes. These advantages are offset by a significant disadvantage: high cost – due to the high cost of implementing and maintaining test automation, about 50% of companies still use mostly manual testing.

Usability Testing

Every app is built to be used. Ease of use is an important quality indicator of the program. The IT industry knows many examples of projects taking off after a successful usability fix. The wider the audience, the more important the usability factor. Usability testing involves a detailed analysis of user behavior. To assess ergonomics, it is important to have data not only on the speed of completing a business task, but also on the user’s emotions, facial expressions, and voice timbre.

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