How to use Real-Time streaming in Power BI

Let’s discuss the most interesting topic of Power BI which is “Real-Time Data Streaming”. There are two types of data refreshing in Power BI i .e “Schedule Refresh” and “Real-Time streaming”. Although at times we get confused that we can use either one to refresh data as both are used for the same purpose.

However, Schedule Refresh works differently from Real-time streaming. When we have static data which requires the manual update so we need to set the Schedule Refresh time so the data will be automatically updated. We may also adjust the Refresh time in Power BI service.

On the other hand, Real-Time streaming automatically changes the data within specified time constraints. For Example, data can be sensors’output, Temperature change or Analytic’s data that keeps updating and changing on a real-time basis. We can always monitor the data streaming in the form a video as shown below.

In the above picture, the data is constantly changing on a real-time basis. With the help of Real-Time streaming feature, we can get real-time data in both visual or dashboard form. This feature can be extremely useful while working on sensitive data that keeps changing. Real-Time Streaming needs real-time data-set. The biggest use of this feature is to display the factory data or Production data. Below are the points that we will be discussing in this article :

  1. Types of Real-Time Streaming data-set.
  2. How to set-up Real-Time Streaming data-set.
  3. How to create Real-Time Streaming data-set.

Types Of Real-Time Streaming Data-Set

As we have already discussed above that Real-Time Streaming needs real-time data-set. So, below are the following types of data-set that come under Real-Time Streaming.

  • Push Data-set
  • Streaming Data-set
  • PubNub Data-set

Push Data-Set

In Push data- set, the data from the Power BI desktop is pushed into Power BI service. Once the data-set is pushed into the Power BI it automatically creates the new database for that data-set. And, then by using the updated data, we can create our report or dashboard using the visuals provided by Microsoft Power BI. We can also pin the dashboard or tile created from another data-set however, it cannot be refreshed so we would need to use Q&A to ask the questions from the Push data-set. Visuals are updated whenever the data is updated on the dashboard in real-time. In Power BI service, the dashboard created from the push data-set triggers a tile refresh after every second when the new data-set is received or updated.

Streaming Data-Set

Similarly, to push data-set the streaming data-set is also pushed into the Power BI service. However, instead of creating a new database it stores the data in cache temporarily and the data will automatically destroy after a  period of time. In addition, There isn’t any need to fetch the data from the database as it fetches the data from the cache itself. We cannot create new reports from that cached data-set because reports are displayed very quickly and hence there is not much time between the processing of data push and visual updation.

PubNub Data-Set

For Real-Time Streaming Power BI uses PubNub SDK to display or get the data from an existing PubNub data stream. As the data is directly connected with PubNub data stream, hence, there is no requirement of creating another database for the same. As the visuals and reports cannot be created if the data is displayed using the PubNub Data stream so, possibly we can create report by adding tile into dashboard and by configuring PubNub Data stream at the source itself. In fact, The tiles that are created using PubNub Data stream are displayed very quickly because they are directly connected with the PubNub Datastream. Hence, there is not much time between the processing of data while receiving and updating the tiles.

How to create Real-Time Streaming data-set

For creating  Real-Time Streaming Data-Set you need to first create your account on Once the account has been created it will give you subscribe key, publish key and secret key. This subscribe key is used by the Power BI service to create Real-Time Streaming Data-set. Below are the steps to create real-time streaming data-set.

  • First, click on the Power BI service.
  • Then click on ‘ My workspace’ and then on the ‘create dashboard’ button.
  • Next click on the ‘Add tile’ button where you need to click on the Real-Time Data option.

  • Once you click on the real-time data, click on ‘next’ button and it will ask you to add streaming data.

  • After clicking on the ‘add streaming data’ button it will ask you to choose your data-set then click on the ‘PubNub data-set’.

  • Here you need to enter data-set name, subscribe key, and channel.

  • After following the above steps it will ask you to enter the data for streaming and then your Real-Time Streaming Data-set has successfully been created.


In this article, we have discussed the difference between schedule refresh and real-time data streaming. Along with the types of Real-Time streaming data-set and also learned as for how to set up the Real-Time streaming Data-set. However, if you still want to know or learn more on this topic you may go through the URL

Thank you and keep learning.

Get in Touch

Leave a Comment