Safety- and Mission-Critical System Drive Test Automation Tools

Technology advances have enabled device manufacturers to introduce a wide variety of functionality and features in an ever-expanding universe of computing platforms. The demands for increased functionality are driving the volume and complexity of code that needs to be developed and tested, which is adding more pressure to shrinking product development cycles.

Recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) indicates that more than 70% of embedded developer survey respondents using Testing Automation Tools in their current development project are in industries normally associated with safety- and mission-critical requirements.

Current Development Project Vertical Market Where Test Automation Tools Are Being Used by End-User Respondents (Percent of Respondents)

According to Steve Balacco, Senior Analyst of VDC’s Embedded Software Practice, “Device development with safety- and mission-critical requirements have a more rigorous development and testing process and certification through regulatory agencies where required. In other industries, product development is willing to take on some level of risk for latent software defects in the face of getting to market quickly and managing product development costs when compared to harm to the manufacturers reputation, litigation, and costly recalls.”

As the volume of software code has proliferated and project schedules shrink, development organizations no longer have a sufficient number of staff to identify damaging defects in the code in a cost-effective manner. Increasingly, development teams are relying on more sophisticated test automation tools including static analysis tools to identify code defects and security vulnerabilities earlier within the development process to reduce the cost and time in fixing defects on the backend of the development process.

From VDC’s perspective, there is no silver bullet since bugs and flaws are not limited to the actual code developed but also can be discrepancies related to requirements or design, or the customers’ expectation of how the device is intended to perform.

According to Balacco, “VDC expects that as the level of risk increases in industries beyond safety- and mission-critical device developers will look to leverage the experience and knowledge of these markets as a competitive advantage in improving quality, reliability, and the business-critical nature of devices developed.”

Venture Development Corporation (VDC) is an independent technology market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in a number of embedded, datacom/telecom, component, industrial, retail automation, RFID, AIDC, and defense markets. VDC has been operating since 1971, when graduates of the Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded the firm. Today, we employ a talented collection of analysts and consultants who offer a rare combination of expertise in the market research process; experience in technology product and program management; and formal training in engineering and marketing. VDC’s clients include thousands of the largest and fastest-growing technology suppliers in the world and the most successful investors participating in the markets we cover.