Improve power utility operational efficiency using smart sensor data and Amazon QuickSight Part 2: Paginated Report
This post is co-written with Imran Rafique at Deloitte Consulting.
Amazon QuickSight, is a serverless, fully managed, business intelligence (BI) service that enables data-driven decision making at scale. Amazon QuickSight meets varying analytics needs with modern interactive dashboards, Paginated Reports, natural language queries, Machine Learning (ML) insights, and embedded analytics from one unified service.
In the first post, we showed how Amazon QuickSight can be used to improve power utility operational efficiency. Power utility distribution network engineers or operators can visualize smart sensor status in real time and troubleshoot smart sensor issues. In this post, we share with you how to create, schedule, and share highly formatted multi-page reports based on different dashboards.
Current challenges in Power Utility operational reporting
Power & Utility companies rely on status reporting to monitor and interpret sensor-based equipment health. Unfortunately, challenges like lack of visibility and personalized dashboards, hinders productivity and efficiency. Field operators and back-office teams rely on daily sensor status reports and frequent statistic metrics to proactively respond to critical events and make informed decisions. For instance, generating Paginated Reports that cater to different teams is a complex and laborious process with unique requirements.
However, creating tailored reports is a complex task. Traditionally, developers write extensive code on workstations to meet the diverse requirements uniquely defined by each team. The effort is time-consuming and may have data constraints or reporting delays.
Data accuracy, privacy, and user access management are factors on a limited set of reports for users to view operational power and utility dashboards. The complexity of voluminous data and concurrent data requests impact scalable performance. Furthermore, regulatory changes and system integration requirements compound lack of reliability of reporting data for decision-making. Furthermore, very often, the reports need to be massively distributed among recipients in different teams, or even outside the organizations.
How reporting challenges impact productivity and operations:
- Grid resilience: Unpredictable natural disasters and weather require utility companies to have robust reporting systems to access, customize, and view quickly. Without a timely report, operators may not be aware the operational status of certain critical assets such as smart sensors, or healthy status of important circuits, and prevent them from taking quick responses to fix issues at their early stages.
- Data overload: With the integration of smart grids and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, there’s an influx of data being generated. Without efficient reporting systems, this abundance of data can be overwhelming, which makes it challenging to extract meaningful insights that’re crucial for operational decisions.
- Environmental and social responsibility: Stakeholders, including the public and regulators, are demanding more transparency about utility companies’ environmental and social impacts. Comprehensive reporting in this area is necessary to demonstrate responsibility and compliance.
- Asset management: As utility companies continue to expand and integrate renewable energy sources and storage, there’s a growing need for sophisticated asset management reports. Inefficient reporting can lead to suboptimal utilization and maintenance of assets, leading to increased operational costs.
In this post, we demonstrate how to use Amazon QuickSight Paginated Report function to generate reports based on specific requirements from different teams, and send out reports based on pre-defined schedules.
Using Amazon QuickSight’s Paginated Report function, user or operators can either create reports from scratch or convert an existing dashboard to a report. It also allows operation teams to:
- Create different Paginated Reports for different teams, such as delivering line sensor status report for network operator team, and providing sensor events reports for distribution network engineering team.
- Schedule report execution and notification via emails to report business critical insights.
Amazon QuickSight Paginated Report provides an unified interface for building and consuming operational reports. This feature helps utilities further streamline their operations and ensure different teams have full visibility into their business. Reports are similar to dashboards as they are built with a no-code or low-code interface, however, detailed information like tables and pivots will be paginated over the PDF/CSV outputs. These outputs can be scheduled for delivery to different teams adhering to row and column level security.
To enable the Amazon QuickSight Paginated Report function:
- An active AWS account with the permission to create and modify AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM) roles that is able to activate Paginated Report function
- Subscribe an active subscription to Paginated Report within Amazon QuickSight
- Paginated Report can be created either from scratch or based on the existing dashboards
Smart sensor Paginated Report creation and delivery
The following steps activate the Paginated Report subscription within an Amazon QuickSight account:
- As an administrator, navigate to Manage QuickSight.
- From left panel select Your Subscriptions.
- Turn on Paginated Reports by selecting the Get Paginated Reports button and choose Add monthly subscription option.
Once the Paginated Report subscription is activated, operators can either use an existing dashboard to convert into a report or create a report from scratch.
Next, we discuss how to convert the existing Sensor Status Dashboard from our first post to a highly formatted multi-page report for network operations team.
- As an author with access to the underlying analysis of the Sensor Status Dashboard, choose the sheet drop down menu and choose the option Duplicate to report.
- It creates a new report with all the visuals that we already created for Sensor Status dashboard. Let’s rename this sheet to Daily Sensor Status Report.
Now that we have all the visuals that we already created for the Sensor Status Dashboard in this report, all the user needs to do is rearrange the visuals as per reporting needs.
- To begin with, the user can change the report layout to Landscape.
- Then, move certain visuals to the header section like the Any Utility logo and add a report title and date.
The following video shows the updates to the header section.
Now the user can rearrange visuals if needed. The user can also delete certain visuals that may not be a good fit for a report. In this use case, all the visuals that we created for the Sensor Status Dashboard will be kept.
Following the same steps, the user can create a Paginated Report for sensor events.
Once the report is created, we can publish and schedule it as shown below. With scheduling we can control which group receives the report.
Scheduled reports will be automatically delivered to the recipients inbox. The following screenshot is a sample email sent to network operators.
Below is a sample Paginated PDF (i.e., first four pages) delivered to operators as email attachment.
Users can additionally generate, catalog, store and archive these highly formatted reports using the recently released Amazon QuickSight Snapshot Export API feature. These APIs enable administrators to automate the generation of reports and store them to a secure location. It enables execution of a report only once and the mass distribution to broader audience, such as Amazon QuickSight or non-QuickSight users, internal or external organization recipients. Refer to this post for additional details on using Amazon QuickSight Snapshot export APIs.
In this post, we showed you the effective utilization of Amazon QuickSight’s Paginated Report function to address the challenges in Power & Utility reporting operations. By harnessing Amazon QuickSight, users can effortlessly create and distribute tailored reports containing vital sensor data for decision-making. Utility operations become reliable and scalable with improved performance.
The simplicity of Amazon QuickSight eliminates the need for complex infrastructure setup, licensing commitments, or continuous report upkeep. With Amazon QuickSight, operators can quickly generate visualizations, which offers valuable insights into line sensor statuses and events with minimal or no coding required. The platform allows operators to configure Paginated Reports and distribute them to various teams based on predefined schedules.
In the next post, we’ll demonstrate Amazon QuickSight Q’s Natural Language Processing capability to cater to ad hoc requests by non-technical users and leadership. This will help them get their answers and insights in a quick, secure and scalable way.
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About the Authors
Karthik Tharmarajan is a Senior Specialist Solutions Architect for Amazon QuickSight. Karthik has over 15 years of experience implementing enterprise BI solutions and specializes in integration of BI solutions with business applications and enabling data-driven decisions.
Bin Qiu is a Global Partner Solutions Architect focusing on ER&I at AWS. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the energy and power industries, designing, leading, and building different smart grid projects, such as distributed energy resources, microgrid, artificial intelligence AI/ML implementation for resource optimization, IoT smart sensor application for equipment predictive maintenance, EV car and grid integration, and more. Bin is passionate about helping utilities achieve digital and sustainability transformations.
Imran Rafique is a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting, specializing in the Energy, Resources, and Industrials practice. With over 20 years’ experience, he focuses on developing transformative cloud solutions. Imran advises clients on cloud adoption strategies to drive revenue growth and cost-effective implementations of AWS technologies, including architecture optimization, data analytics, and delivery excellence.