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“Data in space” in preview: Now Power BI can be truly everywhere

Headshot of article author Maya Shenhav

We live in a connected world and almost everything around us generates data. Imagine if you could view that data, processed and with insights, in the context where it was created. Now, with Power BI Mobile app, you can.

Data in space is a new Power BI Mobile feature that uses augmented reality to create spatial anchors in the real world and attach Power BI data to them, so that data can be connected to the physical environment it describes.

Using Data in space, you can connect your business data to your real-world scenarios, such as facility management, manufacturing, or retail. Employees can then easily discover and use it for better, and more informed decision making.

How does it work?

We’ve partnered with the Azure Spatial Anchors team to integrate Azure Spatial Anchors within the Power BI Mobile iOS app.

Azure spatial anchors technology enables the app to understand spaces, mark specific places of interest, and remember those points of interest. It then allows the app to search a space and look for anchors created in that space.

By using the Azure Spatial Anchors service, we’ve made it possible for one device to read a spatial anchor created in a space by another device, thus making for a real cross-device experience. Later this year we’ll release Data in space support for Android, which will enable a cross-platform experience, effectively making it possible for everyone in an organization to participate in the Data in space experience.

To enable Data in Space, Power BI Administrators need to create an Azure Spatial Anchors resource in their Azure subscription and connect it to their Power BI tenant. They then need to assign users to roles that will allow them to save and search for Azure spatial anchors in the relevant locations. Learn more about how to set up Data in space.

Users in the organization will then get Data in space experiences based on the role they got from the admin:

  • Pin in space: The ability to create and save anchors with Power BI data.
  • Scan space: The ability to search and discover anchors around you.

Think about a facility management scenario, where you, as a building manager, can pin reports showing the status of various areas in the building as collected from multiple sensors and data sources, such as air quality, temperature, floor occupancy, etc. Later, these reports can be discovered by the building attendant or by the building operations staff when visiting that area, simply by using their Power BI Mobile app.

How to create an anchor and pin data to space

Start by selecting the report you wish to pin and set up the desired state by choosing filters and applying slicers. Once the view you wish to pin is ready, select Data in space from the report header, check to see that the preview view reflects what you set up, and open the camera.

You can pin the same report multiple times, with different filters. Let’s say for example that you have a single Panels health report that can be filtered for several specific panels. You can pin it next to each panel with a different filter applied. The app will store the filter you used when pinning and will apply the same filter when you (or others) discover it later.

Next, when you open the camera, you’ll be able to see your view in the real-world, choose where exactly to place it, and scale it as desired.

Learn more about pinning reports to space

How to discover anchors and data around you

All you need to do is open the camera from your app’s homepage. If Data in space is enabled for you, the camera will start scanning for data around you by default. The report locator at the bottom of the screen will indicate when anchors are found, helping you to direct the camera to the right direction.

The preview image you see on the card shows the latest Power BI data and also reflects the permission you have on the data.

Learn more about discovering pinned data

Try it today

Contact your Power BI administrator about setting up Data in space in your organization. Once Data in space has been set up, the Data in space experiences will be available in the app for those who have the relevant permissions. Learn more about configuring Data in space for your organization.

Get Power BI Mobile IOS app from the App store to start using Data in space.