Let’s face it IoT and connected lifestyle products and services are still in their infancy, and as such there are still a lot of bugs that need to be worked out. In this space there are a lot of opportunities to beta test products and services which leads us to the question of “Should I be a beta tester?” Seems like a pretty simple question doesn’t it? Well its not there are many questions inside of this one question that will determine if you should beta test.
The first thing to consider when thinking about beta testing is can you deal with the issues that come along with products and services that are not ready for primetime? For me with my technical knowledge and the willingness of my wife to deal with things that don’t always work 100% this was easy to answer, yes absolutely. But just because you can deal with these issues does not mean that you can accurately report and/or troubleshoot them. You need a good understanding of connectivity and the ability to accurately document bugs, how to reproduce them and any steps you took to resolve them. Nothing is worse than someone who says, “hey this is not working” and gives no further feedback. There is nothing that anyone can do with that, take your time and get to the route of the problem and report it through proper channels, if you can not do that, YOU SHOULD NOT BE A BETA TESTER!
The next thing to think about is, can you keep your mouth shut? All beta tests have some form of None Disclosure Agreement that must be followed. Talking about devices and services that are not available to the public is a big deal and can end in legal action so be warned if you just can’t help yourself and must talk about this neat gadget that you are testing, YOU SHOULD NOT BE A BETA TESTER!
Now we have covered a couple reasons why you should not be a beta tester, let’s try something different…Why should you be a beta tester? That is simple, you should love gadgets and being on the cutting edge, you should care about the industry and want to see the industry grow. If you have a passion for connectivity and want to help the industry, YOU SHOULD BE A BETA TESTER!
Beta testing is for the most part very fun, you get to experience a lot of cool cutting-edge products and services. I would recommend anyone who loves this stuff as much as I do to get involved and help the industry grow. The more products there are out in the wild that work properly, the more main stream customers will be attracted to IoT and that is a win, win for everyone. The IoT industry can not survive without main stream consumer approval and to gain that products need to work. If you can help by beta testing even a little bit everyone wins.
It can be difficult to get started beta testing and you have to kind of swallow your pride a bit because without a track record of some kind no big company is going to send you expensive product. Start with small things like apps. There are thousands of apps that have beta programs that should be used as your gateway drug into beta testing. From there keep building and eventually you will get the cool products. Now to be clear you should not be beta testing just to get products that is another big no, no, besides most of these products, if you get to keep them are not in their final version and you probably signed something saying you would not sell it so you just end up with a room full of devices that you have tested that many of which are sitting doing nothing.
Beta testing can be extremely rewarding, and I encourage everyone to get involved if you feel so compelled. The industry will be better off because of it!
Let me know your experiences as a beta tester in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.