Anyone who has worked in a retail business, from manager to customer service agent, knows that the success of their operation isn't found in the back room – it's out on the sales floor. Decisions constantly have to be made in real-time about inventory, promotion, pricing, and even floor plans and shelf facings. You need information about your product, and you need it now.

You've always had your retail data at your fingertips with the Power BI mobile app, but now we've enhanced the retail experience with the addition of a new barcode scanner. A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data that relates to the object to which it is attached. Barcodes are broadly used in the retail industry to mark products by the manufacturer, cost price, and unique identification numbers.

With the scanner in the Power BI app for iOS, you can now scan barcodes printed on products or shelves at your store, and in seconds see related records in your dataset and filter reports by barcode. Get up to date product performance and inventory information for a specific item, make data-driven business decisions on the spot, and do it all instantly from the palm of your hand. And it's not just for retail – barcode scanners can also be used for warehouse inventory management, or even in IT to retrieve data on tagged physical equipment.

Are you ready to get started? Here's how.

  1. Build your barcode enabled report
    Your dataset needs to contain a column with product codes, which you can load into Power BI Desktop. Select the table containing this column, go to modeling tab, and mark it as Barcode. Now you're ready to use the barcode column to create visualizations and upload reports to the Power BI service. Learn more about Enabling Barcode filter.
  2. Use the scanner in the Power BI app for iPhone
    Log in to the Power BI app for iPhone, and open the scanner from the side menu. Scan the product barcode. Your report will automatically load and filter by the barcode value. If you have more than one barcode-enabled report, you can select the one you want to use from a list. To change the filter, use the small barcode icon on your report to open the scanner and scan additional codes. You can also clear the filter, or re-filter by recent values. Learn more about consuming Barcode enabled reports on power BI mobile app for iPhone.

The new barcode scanner for Power BI app for iOS gives you the power to make smart decisions about your inventory at the speed of business, from the warehouse or from the sales floor. We think you'll love this new feature! Let us know at the Power BI community.