The Latest Power BI Updates: Business Application Summit updates; Paginated Reports; AI workloads; Template apps; Calculation groups

June 12 2019

As June got underway, attendees gathered in Atlanta for the Microsoft Business Application Summit, giving the Power BI team an opportunity to tout new features. Report consumers have new navigation and UI options

At the Summit, Microsoft announced general availability of Paginated Reports, based on technology used in SQL Server Reporting Services. Paginated Reports can consume data from Azure Analysis Services or Power BI datasets, as well as Oracle, Teradata, SQL Server and both Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse. In lieu of downloading and then republishing content, report authors will be able to more securely open reports and edit them live. Responding to customer demands, the team added the ability to subscribe to content stored in Premium workspaces.

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Since the public preview of Paginated Reports in November, thousands of customers have experimented with using it. Planning and construction firm, Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson used it to leverage certified datasets, drawing on Power BI as a data source, while Insight Enterprises found that it increased usage and cut down on search times.

AI workloads are enabled by default for P-nodes as well as nodes A3, EM3 and above as part of general availability of cognitive services and Azure Machine Learning in Power BI Premium. The announcement came just a few months after image and text analytics entered public preview in March. AI features require a minimum of 5 GB of memory. However, capacity admins can adjust the maximum memory dedicated to AI, tracking usage or prioritizing other workloads. Cognitive services can draw on on-premises data sources, while the integration of Azure ML with Power Query Online makes it easier to source machine learning models.

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Power BI template apps launched into public preview went live, letting pro users install template apps on AppSource within the confines of any governance parameters in place. For users, an "Explore app" function gives an overview of app's purpose. From there, users can go into a wizard and connect data sources. Organizations building apps can—through admin permissions—release an app with a public link and submit it to AppSource through the Cloud partner portal offer.

Microsoft issues a public preview of an integration with the Siri iOS app. This device level search directs Siri to locate and open Power BI content on a mobile device. In fact, it's even possible to setup Siri shortcuts.

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