PASS Summit, the world's largest conference for Microsoft SQL Server and BI professionals, kicked-off Wednesday with keynotes by Microsoft's T.K. "Ranga" Rengarajan, James Phillips, and Joseph Sirosh. This year the event attracted over 5,900 attendees from over 50 countries. For Microsoft BI fans, an exciting demonstration of the next generation of Power BI was unveiled by James Phillips. Phillips also accentuated the game-changing capability for his team to deliver weekly releases going forward. 

This time around, Phillips gave a much more detailed dive into the new HTML5 browser-based dashboard solution that he provided sneak peeks of earlier this year at Microsoft WPC and PASS BA Conference. In the demo, we saw fast, easy, and beautiful data exploration with a streamlined dashboard creation experience that does not require building a model. Connecting to data, natural language Q&A queries, creating visualizations, one-click pinning of a metrics and visualizations to a dashboard, drill-downs and free-form editing reports were performed all within the web browser.

Phillips pleased the crowd with exciting news of direct connectivity to on-premises SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) and SQL Server – with no data copying. A myriad of data sources, including-OneDrive, Bing, Salesforce, Hootsuite, Marketo, Zendesk and GitHub, could be seen as he walked through the authoring experience. 

With regards to data visualizations, Phillips teased the audience about anti-pie chart sentiment while switching to a top requested treemap visualization. Additional data visualization types shown include but are not limited to bar, line, pie, scatter, combination, sunburst, treemaps and improved geospatial maps. These new visualization types were also highlighted in his previous event sneak peek demos. 

Public Preview Coming Soon

The big question now is when can you play with the next iteration of Power BI? Phillips mentioned the shown solution is already in private preview today with a public preview coming soon. You can sign up for the public preview at http://solutions.powerbi.com.

Another way to ensure notification of Power BI news is to sign up for a trial of the existing Power BI solution that is already available. Stay tuned for additional updated in the upcoming months from Microsoft and the Power BI teams. 

If you'd like to see this demo, check out the recorded PASS Summit 2014 keynotes that are accessible on PASStv.