Getting Started

Everything you need to know to get started with Formant.

    Add device (Installing agent)

    Formant data platform requires an agent to be installed on the robot. The agent is a software component that acts as the managed entry point from your application to the Formant Cloud. When the first user logs in for the first time, they are prompted from the web application to install the Formant agent.

    Prerequisites

    The device should have internet connectivity and it should be able to connect to app.formant.io 

    Run the following script on your device terminal to output the device/robot details and verify prerequisites

    bash <(wget -qO - https://app.formant.io/device-check.sh)

    If you do not have a compatible device/robot, you can use our docker based turtlebot simulator.

    Step 1: Add device

    If this is the first device, you will be prompted to add device from the signup screen. If not, add device as follows:

    From the burger menu select Settings⇒ Devices ⇒ Add device

    Step 2: Enter name for device

    A device is identified by a name. The name can be changed anytime but must be alphanumeric with characters a-z, A-Z, 0-9, dash (-), underscore (_), and dot (.).

    Click on advanced settings to make the following changes

    1. Enable/disable SSH - SSH is enabled by default, which means that you can use our terminal UI to SSH into the device. If this is a feature you do not want, you can disable it at the agent level by disabling SSH on this menu.

    2. Add tags to the device - Tags are metadata that index telemetry data ingested from the device. They are also be used for grouping devices.

    3. Apply configuration templates already available within the org. If you have other similar devices in this org, you can make configuration a lot easier by creating configuration templates from those devices and apply that template to this device.

    4. Auto-configure this device - If you choose auto-configure, Formant will choose a set of streams and configure/ display a certain way. 


    Step 3: Install the Formant agent

    Prerequisites for ROS based devices

    1. Make sure that ROS_MASTER is set in your environment variable. This is how Formant detects that it is a ROS based device and pulls the appropriate packages.  

    export ROS_MASTER_URI=http://localhost:11311

    2.  If you have a CATKIN_WS with custom messages then you will also need to set the CATKIN_WS environment variable

    export CATKIN_WS=<absolute path to catkin workspace>

    Copy the installation command from the web application and paste it on the device/robot's terminal. The installation command consists of a provisioning token that is unique to the device and expires after 72 hours. If you are unable to install the device within that timeframe, please refresh your token by using the reprovisioning flow

    If you want to install a standalone Docker container of Formant agent, make sure you have Docker installed. Also, please note the following about docker based deployment:

    1. It does not support OTA agent updates. Hence, you will have to update the agent manually whenever applicable
    2. It does not currently support video encoding on Nvidia Jetson platforms. Hence, we highly recommend using the Debian based installation if you are on Jetson based platform. 

    Install Docker container of Formant agent

    bash <(wget -qO - https://app.formant.io/install-agent-docker.sh) <YOUR PROVISIONING TOKEN>


    Install Debian based Linux machine.

    bash <(wget -qO - https://app-dev.formant.io/install-agent.sh) <YOUR PROVISIONING TOKEN>



    Running into installation issues?

    Check out our agent installation FAQ to see if it helps. Else, contact us support@formant.io


    Step 4: Configure agent

    An agent’s configuration specifies what data it should ingest from your application, how it should buffer that data, what metadata (tags) it should apply, and other options. Any changes to the agent’s configuration are versioned, saved to the cloud, and synchronized to the agent the next time it has internet access. You can see the agent’s active and desired configuration versions at any time at the device settings page.

    If you chose auto-configure from the installation menu, Formant will automatically choose set of streams and configure it for you. Visit our help page on configuring the agent for more details.


    Want to customize or ingest data?

    If you are interested in further customizing and ingesting data through Formant agent, check out our git repo for examples


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