IoT Firmware Debugging Competitive Landscape

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Competitive Landscape: Esper and Runtime

Esper claims to be reinventing the future of device and app management for dedicated platforms. Customers are leveraging the platform to respond to interactive kiosks as a method of talking to brands that creates endless opportunities for organizations and to the deployment of kiosks across prominent business verticals. Solutions offered by Esper include Kiosk management solution and Kiosk retail solution.



Brand positioning

Products and services

Competitive advantage

  • Run application deployment at scale: Esper kiosk solutions help manage & deploy applications on android devices with the help of its fine-grained application policies with standard rules.
  • Support cost reduction: Esper solution helps to debug and update device and app issues with OTA instantly.
  • Field failure elimination: monitoring of applications for field failures and easily trigger alerts, thereby reducing device downtime while increasing performance.
  • Continuous delivery: With Esper, customers are assured of round-the-clock deployment of applications and Android OS updates using automated scaling and rollbacks.


  • Esper had raised a total of $2 million from a single seed funding round in 2018 from Andrew Lee and four other investors.


  • Within the last year, the interactive kiosk market place had grown by 17.6% as reported by second Kiosk annual market census report.
  • According to Similarweb review, the global ranking of the company website has risen to 1,646,819.
  • has 19,984 monthly visitors with the majority of visits emanating from India.


Brand positioning

  • Runtime claims to “provide cloud-based management of connected devices and is a complete solutions provider for the consumer, medical, commercial, and industrial IoT applications.”
  • The Redwood City-based company claims to be “the world leader for connected critical infrastructure,” developing connected products and reducing managed connectivity cost.
  • Its open-source runtime operating system (RTOS) is regarded as an industry-leading solution.
  • Runtime operating system operates on Apache Mynewt, which is the world’s leading open-source OS used in embedded devices.

Products and services

Competitive advantage


  • Runtime has received a total of $7.5 million from two rounds of funding.


  • Runtime Mynewt sensor monitor launched on August 11, 2017, and has over 100 downloads.
  • It is still in its first version with a 3+ rating.
  • Runtime Gateway Configurator launched on March 1, 2018, and has about 10+ reviews.
  • It is currently in its first version and has a 3+ rating.

Research Strategy

To answer this request, we conducted a thorough search through the company website for information regarding the company brand position, overview of products and services, and competitive advantage. We looked into the ‘About Us’ section, company blog posts, news, press releases, product and services, and solutions provided. We found the required information precompiled. Next, we leveraged the services of trusted business directory source, Crunchbase, to provide funding details. Finally, we searched through website and app review sources for each of the companies’ metrics of success.
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IoT Firmware Debugging Competitors: Part 1

Express Logic,, and Attify Inc., are three examples of competitors in the IoT (internet of things) market. Most of these solutions do not feature hard statistics regarding their traction rate, mainly because they are privately held companies or solutions, and the technology is gradually gaining momentum as the ioT space is still in its early development stages. The three solutions are addressed in detail below, along with a research strategy detailing the approaches deployed to try to uncover the findings presented.


  • Express Logic claims to be the best-of-class embedded IoT development solution. The company offers multiple IoT solutions including, Thread X, FileX, GuiX, NetX, NetX Duo, and USBX™.
  • Together with AR Systems, Express Logic delivers the best development solution for fast creation of cutting-edge, secure, and safe IoT devices. The solution features an IAR Embedded Workbench, which is accredited as the market leading "IDE (integrated development environment), compiler, debugger, static analysis, and run-time analysis development tool suite."
  • THREADX is Express Logic’s flagship Industrial Grade Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) developed solely for completely embedded, real-time, and IoT applications.
  • IAR Embedded Workbench claims to have over 62,000 developers globally. On the other hand, Express Logic's THREADX is deployed in over 6.2 billion devices globally. Together, the two solutions comprise the world's most popular solution in the embedded IoT industry.
  • The combined solution features certified versions of a fully integrated compiler and debugger toolchain, and both comply with the highest safety integrity levels of IEC. Consequently, the comprehensive integration significantly reduces debug and integration effort to help developers build and deliver high-quality IoT products in less time.
  • High-profile successful products such as HTC Wearables and Broadcom's WICED IoT chipset are all based on the IAR Systems and Express Logic. Equally, Renesas Electronics, a semiconductor manufacturing company has based its entire "Synergy processor portfolio" on IAR Embedded Workbench and Express Logic systems.



  • Established in 2013, Attify has grown to become a global leader in IoT, mobile, big data and infrastructure security. Its team comprises security experts in diverse fields including, "Reverse Engineering, Embedded Device security, Radio reversing, Web application pentesting and infrastructure security."
  • Attify Inc. claims to help businesses secure their IoT devices, digital assets, and mobile applications. The company claims to be a leading global security provider of unique security assessment, penetration testing and training to organizations around the globe.
  • Attify Inc. prides in its latest cutting edge technology, Attify Badge, a tool it uses to perform hardware exploitation and hacking of IoT devices. Attify Badge performs "UART sniffing, root over serial, Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) debugging, dumping memory and so on.
  • Attify Badge allows businesses to exploit IoT devices, specifically hacking/debugging IoT firmware. The company is famed for creating world leading IoT courses such as "Offensive Internet of Things (IoT) Exploitation and Advanced Android and iOS Hands-on Exploitation"
  • Attify Inc. has presented its research at numerous conferences such as BlackHat (U.S., Asia, EU, and AbuDhabi) Defcon, OWASP AppSec USA, AppSec APAC, Nullcon, Toorcon, ClubHack, phDays, Syscan, etc.
  • Attify Badge is widely mentioned across different resources o the web like, among other IoT related websites. In 2018, Attify Inc. claims to have conducted 100+ penetration testing engagements. It also elicited positive reactions among the attendees from leading global companies, including AG, and from employees of tech giants such as HP, and many other companies.
  • Just like WiFröst, Attify Inc. has not yet published any information showing its traction globally; however, based on its high selling course, "Offensive IoT Exploitation," which attracts listeners and buyers from all corners of the globe, the company's solution is a powerful tool for IoT firmware debugging.


To find IoT firmware debugging competitors, we started by examining the competitors of Esper, Runtime, Particle, Artifactory, and Bugstack on business intelligence platforms such as CrunchBase, Owler, Datafox, ZoomInfo, among others. These websites featured several examples claiming to offer IoT firmware debugging. Next, we proceeded to examine reports and studies published by leading learning institutions such as Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, which featured articles and reports regarding WiFröst, a complete IoT firmware debugging solution. We then continued to search for information around the solution, which we discovered was launched in 2018, and currently has no website, so its data is limited to that published by the two universities that created the solution.

Thus, we shifted our focus to search through IoT websites and blogs, Iot industry marketing reports, and IoT review websites for any details regarding IoT firmware debugging. This search approach led us to several IoT websites, but most of them did not feature IoT firmware debugging capabilities. Moreover, for the few examples we found such as Attify Inc. and Express Logic, they have not published in-depth statistics regarding the impact of their IoT firmware debugging capabilities. So we continued to search for more information on the individual websites of Attify Inc. and Express Logic where we found some helpful qualitative and quantitative statistics highlighting the traction rates for these companies based on different metrics. For instance, for Attify Inc., there was little quantitative data published on its website to show its global dominance, besides the reports about the conferences it has held across different parts of the globe regarding its course, "Offensive IoT Exploitation." For Express Logic, there was more than enough statistical data on its website showing its traction rate, based on the total devices deployed with its IoT debugging technology.

While data regarding traction rate in terms of figures showing consistent growth in revenue, clients, and downloads for each solution was limited on each company;s website. Our attempts to uncover the findings from external sources such as review sites also returned zero results. Therefore, we concluded that these being privately-held companies with no obligation to publish such data, the information is then likely unavailable beyond the primary sources, i.e., individual websites. Thus, we continued to provide any data included on each website showing the growth metrics of their solutions in the IoT industry.
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IoT Firmware Debugging Competitors: Part 2

Platformio, Barbara IoT, and Aikaan Labs are three examples of companies providing IoT firmware debugging. Each company has a unique set of capabilities and features, including monitoring and troubleshooting IoT systems. The section below expounds on those three companies showing their capabilities and product offerings for each company.


  • Platformio offers the PIO Unified Debugger, which supports multiple architectures and development platforms to allow users to debug over 200 embedded boards with zero-Configuration. Consequently, it also offers a multi-board and multi-architecture programming experience.
  • PIO Plus Unified Debugger automatically pre-configures the complex UI (user interface) windows before a debugging session via its advanced configuration database "per each board and debugging probe."
  • PIO Unified Debugger top features include a one-click solution (zero configuration); support for over 300 embedded boards; multiple architectures and development platforms; and support for Windows, MacOS, & Linux.
  • The debugger is also built-in into "Platformio IDE for Atom and Platformio IDE for VSCode," and integrates with Eclipse and Sublime Text.
  • Platformio receives an estimated 556,293 visitors monthly. Its monthly visits growth is approximately 20.69%.
  • As of April 2017, Platformio supported approximately 370 different boards, but the number has grown to over 693 boards as of September 2019.
  • Currently, Platformio is the preferred platform for 25 global professional development environments, including but not limited to Atmel, Nordic Semiconductor, Intel, Aceinna, SiFive, and Arduino.
  • In a recent report, the company's CEO Ivan Kravets noted that partnering with SiFive and Western Digital will enable Platformio to further and expand its ecosystem.


  • Barbara Panel customers, one of the solution's primary feature, provides a safe way to perform "Over The Air" updates and application debugging, patching securely and efficiently the firmware. It also supports the self-provisioning of certificates and data to facilitate secure deployments.
  • Remote control of deployments is another main feature Barbara IoT offers its customers.
  • Another major capability is full lifecycle control, including configuration changes and secure provisioning and de-provisioning of IoT devices.
  • Barbara IoT receives about 714 visitors monthly.
  • The company has raised a total of €71.4K in funding over 1 round. The funds were a grant round raised in June 2018.
  • According to Zoominfo, Barbara IoT has an estimated $4.6 million.


  • AiCon continually monitors the health of the IoT system and network to deliver a full review of the health of your IoT infrastructure. The solution simplifies monitoring, debugging, provisioning, and controlling IoT systems.
  • AiCon is powered through proactive monitoring algorithms that can identify and learn the operating conditions of IoT systems and notifies glitches/anomalies.
  • The solution's top features include topology discovery, health monitoring of the Edge infrastructure, anomaly detection, SLA Violations., and application orchestration (focused on business applications).
  • AiCon's machine-assisted troubleshooting and debugging solution helps businesses to identify and fix the problems in their IoT infrastructure. The software controller helps users to perform complex CLI based debugging on IoT systems gateways, servers, and other devices in the network.
  • Aikaan Labs receives approximately 3,037 visits every month.
  • In a recent interview with Aikaan Labs CEO, Chetan Kumar, it was noted that the company expects revenue to increase by 150% to 170% in the next 2-3 years. The revenue growth will almost be IoT-related.


To find additional IoT firmware debugging competitors, we started by examining those found in the previous response, along with those already known to determine their potential competitors based on examples provided by business intelligence providers such as Crunchbase, IoTone, and Owler, and question and answer interviews with company executives. Importantly, IoTone is the leading source for information on the Industrial IoT, featuring 2440 vendors and 1130 project case studies. We came across several examples, but Platformio, Barbara IoT, and Aikaan Labs were among those that offered firmware debugging solutions for IoT systems. However, information showing the success metrics of each platform proved not to be readily available which necessitated additional search attempts across different databases, outlined below.

Your research team started searching for download data for these platforms on their individual websites, including any mentions about the rate of adoption or the number of organizations using these platforms. While we found the number of organizations they claimed were using their platforms, it was unclear whether those numbers had decreased or increased. Attempts to find the information from respective company reports also failed since most of these platforms do not publish annual reports besides reports on usage or technical specifications. Thus, we decided not to use the number of clients for each platform as a comparative metric, since the value would not indicate traction.

We then proceeded to check reviews of these platforms on popular and credible review providers, including but not limited to Trustpilot and G2 and IoT forums such as Reddit, IoT central, IoT Forum, and AWS Developers Forum. Our thinking in exploring these forums stemmed from the fact that they often feature company reviews which can include metrics such as growth, adoption rate, etc. After going through several IoT forums, we failed to uncover relevant and meaningful findings relevant to the topic. Most of the information focused on comparing one solution to another based on critical features provided by each company.

Having failed to find concrete data showing growth metrics for each platform, we then looked for website traffic statistics for the past six months to gather any insights into whether unique visitors numbers had been increasing or decreasing. We used SimilarWeb for this purpose to ensure the integrity and uniformity of data. Unfortunately, we only found the statistics for Platformio with no results for Barbara IoT, while for Aikaan labs the available data was insufficient to provide a comprehensive overview of its six-month traffic. On that note this approach also proved ineffective.

Overall, we proceeded to present any relevant data that would act as a proxy to show successful growth metrics including similar website traffic data uncovered from Crunchbase about monthly visits and the rate of growth for these visits. For some companies we also leveraged interviews with their CEOs for any narratives detailing traction, specifically regarding business expansion and growth. In this regard, most of the data for traction came from interviews with each company CEO along with business and news reports indicating a positive future for the companies following significant growth. Therefore, the success metrics data presented includes a mix of website statistics data and company executives' mentions regarding their anticipated future growth.