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Hot Topics in Testing – MWC 15

Mobile Testing Services

Bryon Lowen, QualiTest UK VP of Telco, reports on the hottest trends that were encountered at 2015's Mobile World Congress, and the testing topics associated with these trends.

The trending topic for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 was entitled ‘”The edge of innovation”. It really did feel that for this particular year, ‘innovation’ was the buzz word.

The main thing gained from MWC 15 is that everything is connected, like toothbrushes, refrigerators, with huge amounts of data, data, data…   Currently only 2% of items in the world are connected, but after this year’s show, it is starting to look like the industry will be leading to 98%! It will be intriguing to see how the networks handle the data throughput demands.

 So what were the hottest topics at #MWC15?

Internet of Things (IoT) – The connection of everything was a huge theme this year. As so many different IoT products get launched, the successful products will be those that are easy to use and work in all network conditions. Consumers have high expectations and will negatively criticize if a product is not performing. A challenge will be to ensure that IoT devices work in the wild. Device fragmentation testing issues that have been seen in the traditional mobile industry will be just as prevalent, if not more so,  across the IoT industry. Companies must be prepared to test their devices in conditions that aren’t optimal. Questions like how a washing machine will perform with a dropped WiFi connection will need to be answered. IoT also raises the big questions on security and privacy, which will also need to be tested thoroughly to protect the consumer.

Connected Car – Lots of companies at #MWC15 have started to create applications and intelligent cars that will start to manage the full automobile experience, from tracking the user as they drive and providing statistical information, including miles per gallon, how much fuel is in their tank and performing basic functions such as unlocking the car, to the future, in which fully autonomous cars will be able to make driving decisions. As more technology is put into cars, the complexity of applications and scenarios that will need to be tested is likely to increase. It’ll be exciting to see how this domain accelerates over the next few years! From a testing perspective, this will be very challenging, particularly in regards to how the testing industry will validate driving conditions and scenarios of an automated car.

5G –The standards for 5G are still being defined but the goal is increased speed and more importantly capacity. In the future, we will need a network that will provide real-time data with very low latency. The current prediction for 2020 is 8x increase in data traffic and 9.5 Billion subscribers. How will operators cope with such increases in data consumption? What are companies doing to prepare/test for data throughput? If it is a challenge to test on today’s parameters, how are companies going to test the exponential growth in data usage?

Virtualization (Network Function Virtualization) – There is a big push towards virtualization providing far greater flexibility for operators while simultaneously reducing opex and capex costs.  It seems everything in the traditional world is now being virtualized, but this entails comes so many variations and testing challenges. The virtualized networks are expected to keep the current standards of 99.99% availability. Performance and functionality of the networks must be validated, as well as the ability to scale up the network in respond to the ever growing traffic demand. Monitoring and troubleshooting will be performed in a different manner in the new virtualized networks.