The Utility Data Lake is the newest analytical tool from Sensus, designed to give you the control to turn data into information. Put simply, the Utility Data Lake is an extended data store with flexible interfaces such as SQL and BI tools. In this series, we will explain what that means, how you can master the new tools, and explore exciting use cases.
The power of Business Intelligence (BI) tools comes from their flexibility. Like a spreadsheet, they are not built for a specific purpose, but that means they can seem daunting and overwhelming. Fortunately, with a little guidance and perseverance anyone can master these powerful tools and unlock the power of their data.
Sticking with the spreadsheet analogy, BI tools are used to crunch data and visualize results. Where BI tools and spreadsheets diverge is the automation and accessibility. Consider the common workflow required to update a chart in a spreadsheet when new data is received; data must be entered, formatted, calculations applied, and chart ranges updated. BI tools are better set up to receive new data and update automatically, presenting results in dashboards to relevant stakeholders through webpages rather than local documents.
Programming is not required to perform analysis and set up the automation. This is why BI tools are considered “low-code” or “no-code” applications. With little of no training, a user can use the drag and drop interfaces to solve challenges specific to their needs.
The Utility Data Lake user interface features a BI tool called Superset, which is an Apache open-source BI tool built to scale easily, making it ideal for large amounts of metering data! As an open source tool there is a growing community of users and contributors. While there is a lot of great information on the the Superset website, it should be noted that Superset has been installed and configured for your utility, meaning the hard part is done. You can jump directly to exploring data through charts and building out dashboards which are described here: Creating Your First Dashboard | Superset
If you are new to BI tools, one of the best places to start is searching for “Apache Superset Tutorial” in YouTube. Additionally, there are online trainings from Udemy and Codecademy, among others. While these trainings might not be specific to Superset, the fundamentals of BI tools is ubiquitous and can be helpful. Finally, when in doubt, consult with your IT or Engineering departments. These groups often have the technical skills to help.
Stay tuned for the next blog in this series where we do a deeper dive into Structured Query Language (SQL)!
About the Author
The Water Utility of the Future – How to Make it Happen
In this six-part series, Joseph Dryer and Zachary Barkjohn look at the social, environmental, and economic pressures facing utilities. In part six, the authors look at the full journey of creating a smart utility network to achieve true utility intelligence.