Logic Apps and Power BI Real-Time Data Sets (Middleware Friday)

|  Posted: February 13, 2017  |  Categories: Middleware Friday

This blog post covers the Episode 6 of Middleware Friday where Kent Weare talks on Azure Logic Apps and Power BI Real-Time Data Sets. This is very similar to the concept explained in Episode 3 blog post with the only difference being that instead of saving the result in SQL Azure, we will be moving the data into Power BI for real-time data analysis.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
Logic Apps and Power BI Real-Time Data Sets

Demo

Let’s get started with the demo! For the demo purposes, Kent takes the same example of an electronics store that we discussed earlier in Episode 3 blog post. I’ll try to replicate the same scenario with my examples to give you a real time experience :-). A security CCTV camera captures the faces of the shoppers who come in to the store. The pictures are uploaded to OneDrive. A Logic App consumes these images from OneDrive and will further upload them to a Blob Storage. We will pass the blob URL to the Cognitive Services Face API and the Face API will return a series of attributes about the person in the picture (such as gender, age, beard, moustache, sunglasses, etc) that we will be passing into Power BI for real time data analysis.

Therefore, the scenario will now look like

Power BI - Actual Scenario

Power BI - Modified Scenario

Create a Power BI Account and create Streaming Data sets

Prerequisite: You need to create a Power BI Account before getting started with the demo

In order for us to store the results from the ‘Detect Faces’ action in the Logic App into Power BI, we need to first create a dataset to store this information. The dataset is nothing but the backend data structure to populate the Power BI connector with the meta data.

  1. Log in to your Power BI account
  2. In your workspace, Click ‘+Create‘ and select ‘Streaming Dataset‘ at the top right corner
    Power BI - Create Streaming Dataset
  3. Select data source as API. Click Next
    Power BI - Create Streaming Dataset API
  4. In the next step, you can define the Power BI table schema. You need to start off by providing a name for the dataset (say, Demographics). Next, we need to create the fields to store the different attributes that come back from the Face API (such as Gender, Age, Moustache, Beard, Sunglasses etc).
    Power BI - Streaming dataset
  5. Click Create to create the data set
  6. Next, you need to create (design) the Power BI dashboard that will reflect the values in the format of your choice.
You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
Logic Apps and Power BI Real-Time Data Sets

Let’s create the Face API Logic App

All the steps will remain the same as we did in the Episode 3 blog post. Therefore, I am going to quickly show the screenshots for each step in the Logic App.

  1. Trigger for the file drop on OneDrive
    Cognitive Services - Create Logic App
  2. Logic App Action where the files from OneDrive are uploaded on to the blob storage. If you do not have a blob storage, you need to first create an Azure Storage account. In the ‘Create Blob’ connector, first connect with your Storage account, and then provide the folder path, blob name, and blob content.
    Cognitive Services - Create Blob
  3. Action to call the ‘Detect Faces (Preview)‘ API
    Cognitive Services - Create Face API Action
  4. For Each‘ action for the Face API operation that will report the demographics information about the person in the picture to the Demographics dataset in Power BI.
    Power BI - Logic App Connector
  5. Now it is time to run the Logic App and watch our Power BI Dashboard reflect the data in nice graphical view. Once again, as in my earlier Episode 3 blog post, I will show the real time execution of the Logic App in the below GIF file.
    Power BI Video recording

Therefore, we now get to understand the power of Power BI and how we can use it to portray the information that we retrieve from the Cognitive Services offering.

Towards the end of the session, Kent highlighted the effort of his good friend Sandro Pereira for releasing the Microsoft Integration Stencil Pack v2.4 for Visio 2016/2013. You can watch the video of this session on Azure Logic Apps and Cognitive Services here.

 

Feedback

You can give your feedback about Middleware Friday episodes, any special topic of interest, or any guest speaker whom you would like to see at Middleware Friday. Simply tweet at @MiddlewareFri or drop an email to middlewarefriday@gmail.com.

You can watch the Middleware Friday sessions here.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
Logic Apps and Power BI Real-Time Data Sets
Author: Sriram Hariharan

Sriram Hariharan is the Senior Technical and Content Writer at BizTalk360. He has over 9 years of experience working as documentation specialist for different products and domains. Writing is his passion and he believes in the following quote - “As wings are for an aircraft, a technical document is for a product — be it a product document, user guide, or release notes”.

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