Getting Started

Everything you need to know to get started with Formant.

    Intro to data navigation & discovery

    Robotic data is most often high in volume and highly diverse. While most data sources generate simple text and metric data, a robot typically transmits location data, image data, 3-dimensional data (e.g. lidar and SLAM visualization), and streaming video data, if not more. Because of this, enabling users to navigate and find data is one of the most important features Formant offers.


    Channels, components of the Formant Web Application, are named views into a subset of your organization's data. 

    A channel is defined by a set of telemetry streams filtered by devices and other user-defined tags visualized in modules, which can be arranged and customized by administrator users.

    Slices of time within channels can be shared with users outside of one's organization, such as customers and third parties.

    Device Channels

    Every device in your organization has an associated Device Channel, which contains all the specific data streams associated with said device. Using the Device Channel, one can also perform device-specific actions such as ingesting data on behalf of the device with Capture, or issuing Commands.

    Device View

    Device Views are a groups of visualization modules that represent different windows into the device channel. Each Device View is defined by a group of data streams from the device channel, and the module layout for displaying those streams.

    Devices Views enable users to quickly and cleanly dive deep into a specific collection of streams from the device's data. For example, there could be a view that only displays a robot's camera feed, a view that shows both its camera and localization streams, or a view focused entirely on the robot's battery and power state.


    An event is an occurrence of something interesting at a given moment. An event could be generated automatically when a stream exceeds a certain threshold or meets certain criteria or patterns, or it could be an ad-hoc interesting moment as defined and specified by the user. 

    Each event will generate a tick mark on your timeline. Events allow for quick, simple navigation of the timeline and help one identify occurrences or states of interest along the way.

    Events can be configured to trigger a notification with varying degrees of urgency (as specified by the user). It can also be configured to trigger Commands on the device or trigger ingestion of data based on configurations. 

    Interested in learning more?

    To learn more about events, check out our viewing events or configuring events help pages. 


    A tag is a key-value pair assigned to a piece of information or entity (such as devices, data points, alerts, or interventions). This is used as metadata to describe or categorize the item and allows one to find it more readily by filtering or searching. Tags can be used to filter and aggregate an organization’s data along multiple dimensions. They play a fundamental role in slicing and dicing one's data into clearly organized and accessible segments.

    • Tags often represent a concept that can grow to take on additional possible values over the lifetime of your application, such as a software_version, customer_id, or robot_id.
    • Tags often encode additional metadata about the source of one's measurement as well, as opposed to simply a description. 

    Interested in using tags?

    Please read our documentation on how to slice and dice data using tags

    Data Retention

    The timeline within Formant displays data retained in the Cloud. Data retention is configurable and the Timeline on observability will display data for the configured data retention period. For help or more information on configuring data retention, please contact

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