[Yotam Roch is the Technology Business Unit QA Manager. In his job his managers often whisper to his ears the magic words:”Automation, Automation, Automation”, so we asked him to share with you some of his experience with the automation testing we’re doing for the VC240]
For the VC240 we had the usual video conference endpoint testing scheme: things like interoperability with other common endpoints and MCUs, handling of network impairments, usability testing, software upgrade process verification and operating the system remotely using the open APIs. But there was now a new challenge: test it the way the user is using the unit, with the remote control and find out what will happen after the 10th, 100th or 1000th call or if the user presses the Mute-Unmute button a 100 times during a call.
At the beginning we had a few students doing the Sisyphean task of connecting and disconnecting calls using the remote control, but soon we realized that we had to find a way to do it more efficiently.
A colleague of mine from the developers’ team remembered that in his previous job he developed a Set-Top-Box for TV sets and they used to test it with an Infra-Red Transmitter. I did a little research and bought a few pieces of Infra-Red transmitters. These devices can transform any PC into a programmable remote control: it learns the codes of the remote control, stores them in a database and sends them, controlled (over HTTP or USB) by software that runs on a PC:
Within a couple of hours we “taught” the device all the Infra-Red codes of the VC240 and in another few days, using Autoit, we wrote a “software remote control” that can replace the original “hardware remote control” of the VC240. With this “Soft” remote we can record the buttons that are being pressed and create a script. For example for calling 1234, waiting 60 sec and dropping the call the user will have to press the following remote buttons: CALL,1,2,3,4,OK,sleep=60,END,END, and this is exactly the way the script would look like. The script can then be played repeatedly in a loop with the software player that we wrote.
Now our testers can run the test and meanwhile do other things like preparing such scripts for the benefit of all teams: Testing and Development.
We are using this technique now not only for testing the VC240, but also to record scenarios that are causing problems and sending them to the development teams in different parts of the world – this way they can easily reproduce the problem.
Find the Difference! – VC240 “Hard” Remote Control Vs. VC240 “Soft” Remote Control
We also had to overcome a funny problem: the strength of the Infra-Red signal is quite strong so it was picked up by all the neighboring VC240s.In order to prevent that and make each Infra-Red transmitter focus on single VC240 unit, we had MacGyvered the following contraption made of ¾ CD of VC240 user manual, 1 carton box of the Infra-Red transmitter power supply, 30cm of cellotape, 1 VC240 camera cover (to draw the circle, of course…) and 1 craft knife: