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Helper IV
Helper IV

Power apps use case - looking for input

So - i have a potential use case for power apps that i'm wondering if there are other products that will be easier than trying to build it entirely in a flow or series of flows.  let me describe the process:


We get email notifications for enhanced alarms for HVAC systems. The current system we have uses a literal magic black box to convert a serial output for a dot matrix printer into a virtual "printer". these messages have a number of potential destinations and/or actions associated with them. 


for instance - i may get an alarm for, a freezer in food service building. the current system will have a contact name, a daytime number, an after hours number and then a "if no response" action. The daytime contact is handled by my department, but the rest of the communications are handed off to a central communications department. 


This information is contained in individual text files that a program opens and extracts text from which is then "printed" to a console that triggers a strobe light letting whoever is "on deck" know that they need to check something/call someone.


this presents several problems that i am hoping that the power apps platform can help me with:


1. static entities for contact - if someone retires or changes position, we have potentially hundreds of text files to update - i am hoping that we can leverage CDS to eliminate that - since it supports LDAP and we have a robust active directory team my hope is that we can more reasonably manage a lookup on the appropriate contact information which should be up to date, as our HR is pretty "on the ball" when it comes to changes in status.


2. our "after hours" operation doesn't have a mechanism for recording who is contacted and what the response was or moving through a round robin  of contacts, which is made worse by problem 1 with outdated information.


3. Metrics are difficult to calculate, because we often don't know what "happened" as there is no feedback loop and because of our current CMMS system keeping track of created tickets is a fairly manual process.


4. we have hundreds of buildings with dozens of potential contacts per building to track for these alarm messages and responses


So to address some of this - we are looking to move to support SMS in addition to the current email and phone-call method.


we want to implement some features to help support our efforts and modernize them:


1. a feedback loop for contacts - so for instance, we send an SMS to a contact, they have a  set of automated responses to choose from - like - 1. that is ok, ignore 2. i'll check on it 3. call the trouble truck 4. not my problem. This will allow us to better track the fate of the message and also give us a quicker response time (we hope)


2. alarms are usually relative to a department as well as a building - so we are hoping we can leverage something like the CDS entities to create a "department" and a "building" contact table based on our active directory so that when an alarm is triggered we can have some kind of logic to say " oh it is normal hours, start with this entity, and find contact 1 then move down the list. This would tie in to #1, because, it could move down the list in an automated fashion with a bit of a time delay and once an action is selected then we can pass it on to a tech in our department to follow up on


3. because we are leveraging power apps, we should be able to track responses, times, etc. to build whatever metrics we think make sense.


does all of this make sense?


i've been using power automate for a bit over a year now to perform some tasks and feel confident that it can be leveraged for some of this - but i was wondering if there might be a good use case for AI builder as part of this - particularly if we could use that for the contact lookup, for instance, instead of having a large set of conditionals in a flow. We were also thinking that it might be a good use for ai builder (if it supports this) to process the incoming emails as different controls vendors have different formats, so we'd need to have multiple flows to support particular vendor formats - where it feels like if we were able to get ai builder to recognize the things we want in the email we might not need to do that.


that does lead to some questions about AI builder licensing, as i'm not super clear on how much a particular AI builder task costs in terms of credits or when those credits are used - is it every time the ai builder task is performed? monthly per number of tasks? i am sure that the credit usage is scaled based on complexity of the task, etc.


we often get 200-500 alarms a day, so understanding if each and every alarm message will consume x credits is important.


I appreciate any/all feedback.


Thanks in advance!



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