How Robotics Companies Actually Use Data (And What We Got Wrong) from freeamfva's blog

How Robotics Companies Actually Use Data (And What We Got Wrong)

Data affects every department, and each one needs it for different reasons. From CFOs trying to understand the operating cost per robot, to operations focused on deployment times and mission achievements, and engineering monitoring individual mission performance, the insight data can provide is key to a robotic company’s success. Therefore, it’s crucial that companies collect the data they need and have a realistic plan for accessing that data across departments.To get more news about Logistics Robotics, you can visit glprobotics.com official website.

At Formant, data is an integral part of our platform and the value we bring to scaling robotics companies, but historically we haven’t always been spot on in our approach to surfacing that data to our users.When we first approached the challenge of visualizing large sets of Formant data, we thought we knew what our customers wanted. They were sitting on treasure troves of data ingested by Formant, and they wanted a way to analyze that data and visualize trends.

Our response was to build a new feature called Formant Analyze, which was essentially an embedded enterprise-grade BI tool that was rigid and complicated.The need for flexible data integration and management first began with one specific customer.

To be able to learn from their data, this customer wanted to export it to Grafana, a tool we weren’t connected to natively. First, we built custom embedded Looker dashboards to fulfill this need. However, this meant Formant needed to write many queries and develop visualizations for them any time they wanted to build a dashboard or dive deeper, which became time-consuming and delayed the sharing of information.

In an effort to reduce reliance on us to write queries, we built dashboards to support queries but found each of these ran into issues as well, leading us to the clear conclusion: customers should be able to make their own choices when it comes to their data and front-end BI tool.

Being that data is so crucial to robotics companies, as a platform we didn’t want to dictate its movement. Instead, like any other good data pipeline, we decided to give users the power to determine where data went and how it was consumed.

By providing users with the ability to choose the right tool for the job, Formant was able to provide the data flexibility necessary to help them quickly solve problems with as few obstacles as possible.To help customers solve issues and learn from data as quickly as possible (using tools that they are most familiar with), we ensure it’s incredibly easy to hook up their data pipes, then we simply get out of the way.

How many hours are customers using the robot? Out of those hours, are they being used autonomously or how often is it in manual mode?

But it’s not just about analytics. There’s also a need for harmonized data management to help operations and the business run smoothly- the future success of the company depends on it. Users need to be able to integrate data into their task management systems (such as Jira), billing systems (such as Stripe), and other business tools so that data can be stored and sent anywhere, anytime it’s needed; even if it’s a few years down the road.

Having data at their fingertips to export to any tool enables companies to better answer a variety of questions and solve issues regarding their operations. What’s more, data flexibility allows for more freedom to solve these issues.

Some problems, however, can’t be answered with just one data point- they require joining multiple tables of millions of points of data, which is something that isn’t possible to do within an operations platform itself. By enabling users to export their data to any tool, that data can be combined with other contextual data (including internal non-robot data), to provide answers.


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