The Challenges of Testing the Internet of Things: STARWEST 2015 Interview with Paul Gerrard


In this interview, TechWell speaks with Paul Gerrard, a consultant, teacher, author, webmaster, programmer, tester, conference speaker, rowing coach, and publisher. At STARWEST 2015, he gave a keynote titled "Testing the Internet of Everything."

Jennifer Bonine: We are back with our virtual interviews, and we have a treat. I didn't know if we'd get to talk to Paul. Paul, if you watched him, obviously, he was the keynote yesterday and was losing his voice. We missed him yesterday, but we get him today, so we're kind of lucky that Paul is with us. Paul, thanks for being here.

Paul Gerrard: Thanks for having me. It's getting there, but it's not quite right.

Jennifer Bonine: You sound good though. I mean, better than what ...

Paul Gerrard: I feel okay, I'm just a bit “eh.”

Jennifer Bonine: Right, exactly. You made the long trip here, and obviously maybe people watched the keynote yesterday that you gave. There's a lot of really positive response to that. What kind of ... When you were thinking about doing the keynote, how did that come about, where you said, this might be a really good thing to talk about with people? What inspired you?

Paul Gerrard: Well, some years ago, maybe about twenty years, the way I kind of behaved in business was to try and figure what the next big thing was going to be. Then on the back of that, it was like, well, we know testing is going to be a bit late coming, and understanding these things. Going back to client serving in 2000, into that, stuff like that, I always try to be first to market with training. In a way, I'm kind of doing that, but I'm not sure training is going to be the big deal. But I'm trying to be an expert in it. Maybe there's business there, I don't know, but I think it's a fascinating thing to do. It's fascinating, exciting, and terrifying.

Jennifer Bonine: All at the same time.

Paul Gerrard: All at the same time. It seemed like an interesting thing to do at the time. I'm enjoying it, I have to say. I've given a lot towards it, on variations two or three times now.

Jennifer Bonine: Great.

Paul Gerrard: I know it goes down a while, and people say I never realize, I never knew. It's like, go and look it up, go and read.

Jennifer Bonine: It's interesting, too, I was talking to Jason this morning about AppDiv and the app he's created to test on mobile stuff. He was talking about your Internet of Things, and we talked about how today we think of labs—test labs, as kind of like out here, right where we have some computers, we have some devices, we have some robots. We have some various things that we use and interact with. He was saying with the Internet of Things, what if the labs now are apartments, and they have TVs in them, and they have Nests in them, and they have the real devices that everyone is using, and you're actually testing like that's your lab. Right?

Paul Gerrard: Sure.

Jennifer Bonine: It's a real live setting of, what does this look like in a real home, or a real apartment, or whatever.

Paul Gerrard: I've no doubt, they'll be some applications where the people are building and testing these things, or taking their work home. You know?


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