You might already be using Power BI to create your dashboards and reports, but have you tried to create a real time dashboard before? Typically, you need to set up a refresh schedule like below. What if you want to see your dashboard update live, as soon as fresh data comes in? Creating a real time dashboard with Power BI Service is easy, using tools such as Power Automate in the process.

Here are some examples of times you could consider using a real time dashboard:

  • Collecting survey responses and viewing feedback immediately
  • Monitoring stock levels
  • IoT devices- sensors, machinery. Anything with a constant flow of data you would like view accurate information on.

When heading over to Power BI Service to create your streaming dataset, you have 3 types of datasets to choose from: API, Azure Stream and PubNub.

Azure Stream and PubNub both require you to have access to these services, and are great for IoT use cases.

The API option is the most accessible for anyone to get started with. Using the API option creates a “Push Dataset”, i.e. the Power BI API takes your data and pushes it into a dataset for you. Its as simple as creating the columns of information you want to collect, and using tools like Power Automate or perhaps PowerShell if that’s more your thing to add rows into your table. When this happens, your dashboard tiles update automatically with the new data.

The benefit of using a push dataset is that data is getting stored in a database in Power BI Service. You can do historical analysis- go back in any point in time and see what occurred. In addition, you also get the full report building features too, like all the visuals and creation of measures.

With Azure Stream and PubNub, you’re limited to a few visual types (card, line chart, column chart, bar chart and gauges).

Want to get started creating your own real time dashboard? Try out this tutorial here.

For some push dataset examples, check out the presentation I did on real time streaming during DynamicsCon 2021.


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