The test center is the heart of CHIP. On more than 250 square meters, our experts normally put products of all kinds through their paces. Everywhere on the test area are TVs, laptops, e-scooters, grills and a wide variety of smart devices - but how are they tested in times of corona and remote work?
During normal operation, the products to be tested pass through various processes on specially designed test equipment. But now home office applies naturally also to the colleagues from the CHIP test center. How can the quality and quantity of the tests be further guaranteed?
Wolfgang Pauler, Head of the CHIP Test Center, talks to us about the challenges and opportunities of remote testing:
What were the biggest challenges when switching to the home office?
Even though we are all techies and did not have any basic problems such as "How does my VPN work", it was to be expected from the outset that we would have to contend with the most challenges alongside the FOCUS Online editorial team. That's why we still had the opportunity to use our test center with a special permit. However, in order to comply with the relevant regulations, we immediately set up subteams to maintain the necessary security distance between colleagues. We divided our experts into staggered working groups so that in the event of an infection, not the entire test center team is infected with the virus. It was also important to us that tasks for which office presence is not absolutely necessary take place consistently in the home office, so that the time spent in the test center is kept to a minimum.
For the tests you use special procedures and equipment: What's next for the tests? How difficult was it to change the previous familiar procedures to the new requirements?
Even before the Corona crisis we worked occasionally in the home office. Test evaluations or the continuous optimisation of our test procedures can be easily processed from home. In order to carry out tests on smaller products such as hard disks, USB sticks, we can now simply take our measuring platforms home with us. We are also currently having smartphones or other devices sent to the respective home office. Since the products have to go through many different test phases, not every device can be tested completely remotely. However, we make sure that the majority of the tests are consistently carried out at home. But of course we also test devices that are too big for the home office. For example, colleagues cannot store several 80-inch TVs at home, so our expert continues to test the TVs predominantly in the test center.
Will the current situation contribute to a permanent change in your testing procedures? Are there things that the remote situation has forced you to change, and that are proving to be effective beyond that?
We are convinced of our test procedures. Of course, we always work on the development of our procedures and optimize them regularly. The situation in the home office has not changed this.
Do you see opportunities through the home office situation? Will the tests be even more practical?
Practical tests have always been our claim. The current situation has not changed this. In order to be able to continue to guarantee comparability not only with competing products but also with previous generations, we make sure that the products are always tested under the same conditions. That is why products such as vacuum cleaners or cameras are still tested in the laboratory. Also subjective evaluations are still taking place. In this way we check whether the measurements match the actual impression.
I see opportunities in the recognition that New Work will continue to establish itself as a trend. The crisis has proven that even areas of the home office can work that one had not thought of before.
What will your first day at work look like after normalization?
I think the normalization is unfortunately still a long time coming. Of course, virtual coffee breaks cannot replace being together, but the informal and spontaneous exchange with colleagues will continue to be absent when you return to the office for the time being, in order to protect yourself and others. But after the normalization I will be happy to go to as many meetings as possible to see as many colleagues as possible again.