The Power of Real-time Streaming in Power BI

Microsoft’s business intelligence tool, Power BI, is more than just beautiful reporting and pre-captured data analytics. The real-time streaming functionality makes it easier to handle incoming streams of data and instantly update dashboards with new data sets.

Display and update real-time data and visuals

Organisations can use the real-time streaming feature to stream their data and update dashboards in real-time, as it happens and when it happens.

The process optimises data management and saves substantial time and costs, preventing further delays in accessing and sharing the most current information.

With Power BI, companies can also display active real-time data via visuals and dashboards, just as it can be done with static data fed into the system from multiple sources.

Stream data from live camera feeds and sensors

The major benefit of using real-time streaming in Power BI is the data collection and analysis from various devices and sources connected to the business network.

Factory sensors, social media sources, service usage metrics, are important sources of streaming data, as well as any IoT-connected device from which time-sensitive data can be collected or transmitted.

Minimise data latency by streaming live data

There are different types of real-time datasets which are designed for display on real-time dashboards: data that is being fed for continuous use into the Power BI service (push dataset), and data that is being streamed in real-time (streaming dataset).

With streaming data, Power BI only stores this data into a temporary cache, which quickly expires. The temporary cache is only used to display quick visuals such as a line chart that has a short time window (hour). There is no database saved in the system. Therefore businesses cannot use the streaming data to build report visuals, for example.

However, streaming datasets are critical as they are optimised for quickly accessing and displaying real-time data. This functionality reduces the time spent between data collection and the updating of visuals which include the new data. The process is instant since there is no need for the data to be read and pulled out from an existing database.

In practice, streaming datasets and their streaming visuals are best used in situations when it is critical to minimise the latency between data capturing and data visualisation, and when the data is ready to be seen as-is without any modifications, i.e. pre-calculated averages and temperatures.

Find out more about Power BI’s real-time streaming feature in this Microsoft blog.

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