What Mobile Can Teach Us About the Internet of Things: An Interview with Steven Winter


In this interview, keynote speaker Steven Winter explains the importance of mobile as we push ahead to a connected future. He discusses the lessons we've learned from mobile, the security risks of IoT devices, and the most interesting connected devices he's run into so far.

Josiah Renaudin: Welcome back to another TechWell interview. Today I am joined by Steven Winter, the president of Guerilla QA and a speaker at our Better Software Conference West. Steven, thank you very much for joining us today.

Steven Winter: Josiah, thank you so much for having me on.
Josiah Renaudin: Absolutely, and first, before we dig in to the meat of your keynote, could you just tell us a bit about your experience in the industry?
Steven Winter: Of course. I have been doing QA and breaking software for about twenty-one years now. Started off at Broderbund Software way back in the day when someone told me you could make $15 an hour testing video games for a living. It was sort of like, the testers crack to start in from video games. The last dozen years have been solely around startups, and the last eight years have been around mobile, specifically mobile fin-tech (financial technology).
Josiah Renaudin: See, I think we actually have a lot more in common than I thought. For my side job, I'm working for a studio that is developing a video game. That could be an entirely different interview for another day.
Steven Winter: A whole other interview.
Josiah Renaudin: So let's not talk about that, since we’ll end up talking about that for thirty minutes. To focus on your actual keynote, let's really start here: How much of what we've learned from mobile development and testing can be applied to the Internet of Things testing and development?
Steven Winter: That's a great question, and that's actually the foundation of why I chose to talk about this subject because many of the big pieces of the Internet of Things is a direct one-to-one from what we've learned from mobile. From firmware on the device to the network protocols and the APIs they use to communicate, to the security of those connections and all that massive data transferred to and from that device are all existing technologies used in mobile.
This is the big message. We already have the knowledge, and we're already prepared for what's coming with the Internet of Things. There's specifically the hyper-connected world. The challenging part is managing the scale. There is something close to twelve billion connected devices now, and by the time we're done with the conversation, there's going to be another five thousand connected devices. It just happens, it's happening that fast, so the challenge is managing the scale. Managing and maintaining the software on the devices, managing the increasing demands on APIs and the third-party APIs you have to deal with, and that big data management like I spoke to before.
Most important is the increased security threats that this hyper-connectivity is going to create.
Josiah Renaudin: Security, I feel, is something that...I write for one of our main sites, TechWell, very often, and security is something that comes up very often.
Steven Winter: Sure.
Josiah Renaudin: How are IoT devices putting a greater onus, a greater demand, on software quality and security?


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