Learn more about Enterprise AR/VR on the VMTN Podcast

Recently I was a guest on the VMware Communities Podcast where we spoke about Spatial Computing, Virtual Reality and Augmented reality and where these play in the enterprise, this was a great overview of what my life has been for the last while so I thought I would post it here for those interested in this space and looking to learn more.

You can download/listen to the podcast version here: https://t.co/bpRw8P9fam

Screen Sharing and Recording a Oculus Quest with a Windows or Mac Computer

Recently I attended a conference where I needed to display a demonstration of what we were doing in VR on the Oculus Quest, the Quest has some great mechanisms for casting to a mobile phone or to a Chromecast device attached to a TV but when it comes to sharing to a laptop there isn’t really a good solution at the moment.  Im sure that will all change when they bring out Oculus Link (for a wired connection anyway) but we needed something now.

After digging around on some forums and piecing some data together from youtube, forums and reddit I thought i would make a note of the end result here which enables you to use scrcpy, an android screen sharing utility, to share both with a wire but also wirelessly and also enables an easy way to capture video straight to the computer.

Initial Install and Setup

  1. Enable developer mode on your Oculus Quest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PTFkLnJRLs)
  2. Plug the USB-C cable into your computer and the Quest, this also works with USB to USB-C
  3. If its your first time plugging into this computer you will need to accept the prompt within the device that allows you to access the device from the computer as per below and check the box to always allow if you want to skip this section in the future
  4. For Windows download and unzip the latest build of scrcpy from https://github.com/Genymobile/scrcpy/releases a direct link for the current version when writing this is here: https://github.com/Genymobile/scrcpy/releases/download/v1.10/scrcpy-win64-v1.10.zip
  5. For Mac the application is available in Homebrew. Install it using the following from a terminal window:
  6. brew install scrcpy
  7. You will also need adb. you can install this by running the following from a terminal window:
  8. brew cask install android-platform-tools

Sharing the Screen connected via cable

  1. Open a command prompt (cmd.exe) or and CD into the extracted folder from above
  2. Run the following command:
  3. scrcpy -c 1200:800:180:320 -m 1600 -b 25M

Sharing the Screen connected wirelessly

You will still need a cable to make an initial connection and start the client on the Quest and then you can disconnect and use wirelessly, use the following steps to connect wirelessly:

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above in the setup section
  2. Open a command prompt (cmd.exe) and CD into the extracted folder from above
  3. While the device is connected via a cable run the following to find out what your Quests IP address is in the src section:
  4. adb shell ip route dev wlan0  proto kernel  scope link  src
  5. Now run the following replacing the IP address below ( as yours:
  6. adb tcpip 5555
    adb connect
  7. Disconnect the cable from the PC and with the device disconnected run the command to connect to the device as below
scrcpy -c 1200:800:180:320 -m 1600 -b 25M

Sharing Window

If everything worked above a new window should appear showing the device screen, you can then maximize this for a better demo window.

Testing was done with variations of the scrcpy command but the above was found to be the best viewing size to enable a good demo.

Recording the screen

There is also a great way to capture the screen while mirroring, add the following command options to the end of the scrcpy command above to do this:

 --record file.mp4

To disable mirroring while recording:

 --no-display --record file.mp4


Connection Issues

If you get a blank window or are unable to connect when device is plugged in you should be able to run the following command from the same folder above:

PS C:\Users\alan\Downloads\scrcpy-win64-v1.10> .\adb.exe devices
List of devices attached
1PASH9AF839266 device

The device should show above rather than:

PS C:\Users\alan\Downloads\scrcpy-win64-v1.10> .\adb.exe devices
List of devices attached
1PASH9AF839266 unauthorized

If you get the latter then make sure you have enabled developer mode and authorized the device as per step 1-3 above.

Target Machine refused connection when in wireless

If you receive a message like the following: “cannot connect to No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it. (10061)”

Reconnect the Quest to the computer and go from Step 3 in the wireless connection steps above, this is caused because the client on the quest stopped, normally as you reset the device.

Fixing HTC Vive Tracker Orientation

Recently I took my daughters Softball hitting skills to the next level by putting her up against some of the best pitchers in some of the best stadiums in America…. well kind of anyway!

I joke but this is actually a great use case, imagine putting your softball or baseball college or pro team up against any pitcher that you have recorded stats for and enabling them to hit against that pitcher and any pitch they have made during a game, that’s some next level training there!

We enabled this by attaching a HTC Vive Tracker to the end of an old softball bat she had and using this in conjunction with the HTC Vive VR Headset, this enables the bat to be tracked inside of virtual reality and for a more life-like experience and realistic training method when using some of the softball/baseball games…

Setting the tracker up was very simple and I soon had the tracker visible in Steam Home.

I downloaded a few games for my daughter to use that I knew supported the HTC Vive tracker:

Pitch-Hit: Baseball

More Info

Continue reading

360 Media & the Vuze Camera

The Equipment

Recently I was able to gain access to a Vuze Plus 360 Camera a very niece piece of kit which retails at just less than $1,000, the features are very impressive as you can see below:

  • 360 LIVE preview and LIVE broadcast 
  • 4K Stereoscopic 3D 360⁰ Video and Photo
  • 3D audio (spatial audio)
  • IP65 (water jet proof)
  • Lightweight and Easy to Use

The Experience

I have always been rather skeptical about the use of 360 pictures, of course there are areas where it makes sense.  Real estate for example, this is a great use case for 360 pics and video, being able to look around or walk around a house and see all around you not only on your phone but also in VR can really bring 360 into its element.

Now I have access to a camera however I have to say I am very impressed with the quality and experience it gives to relive a moment in time via picture or video, it really does capture the all round experience and when viewed through VR it gives a sense of being in that place and being able to be in an area and experience it with full perception of the environment and with spatial sound you can also hear the different perspectives as you look around.

Working with 360 Media

Taking a photo with the Vuze is very easy, just hook into their wifi access point on the camera and use the mobile phone software to take a picture or video, couldn’t be easier!

Once you have the picture or video there is then some post processing that needs to take place, the camera tries to do a good job of stitching the individual views together but its not quite there by default.  The Vuze come with some great software that make this very easy, it allows you to download the photo and then with the press of a couple of buttons you can adjust the “stitching” and color levels, replace the image at the bottom of the picture (to remove any trace of the camera or tripod) and render the image or video to a given format. Super Easy!

Stitching in Vuze

I do however wish there was some kind of bulk mode for this as doing it for 20 or 30 images and videos can get tedious!

Now you have the pictures and Video you need to publish them somewhere or add them to a device, this I think is an area that needs to mature a lot! Its easy to drop the files onto my Oculus Go and Continue reading

Slight change of focus.. or should I say reality?!

Its been a while since I blogged, mainly because as I focused more on my day job, had a new baby and generally got really busy, I was unable to find the time to share my thoughts on the subjects I was working on, life got in the way!

As of the start of this year however I changed roles at VMware and am now helping to lead the strategy for Cross Reality (XR), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) or as the industry has started to call it (and I quite like)… Spatial Computing. Of course I may have dabbled in this area before at VMware ;).

As its easier to blog about what you are working with on a day to day basis I am hoping to start blogging more on these subjects, helping others to learn as I also learn more.

At VMware we are seeing many of our customers already starting to use Spatial Computing to solve certain use cases for the enterprise. Im excited about how this technology will evolve in the future, how VMware will help our customers and what the industry will achieve as a whole.

I of course will keep the history of posts on automation and will continue to keep one eye on whats going on there, maybe even find time to create a few posts when things interest me in this area.

I thank you for continuing to stay interested in the areas I follow and hope you will find this area as interesting as I do, and if you are a VMware customer who has interesting Spatial Computing use cases then don’t be shy, reach out to me and let me know how we can potentially help you!


Using Curl with the VMware Cloud on AWS API

Sometimes the initial steps of working with a new API can be hard, often working out how to authenticate and call the APIs can be the hardest part.

I have found that if I break it down into industry standard tooling I can often get a better understanding of how to form this in other languages which I use.

For REST other than calling the API through an API Explorer (like the awesome API explorer built into the VMware Cloud on AWS console) clearly curl is the easiest and probably best industry standard way to test a REST based API.

With this in mind I wanted to show an example of how to use the VMware Cloud on AWS API using CURL, the below example shows how to exchange your refresh token (obtainable from your account) for an access token and then use this to work with all the subsequent APIs in VMware Cloud on AWS or as my example shows, listing the organizations I have access to.

You can download this sample from code.vmware.com here.

New Year, New Look vCheck

Its been a while since I blogged about vCheck but that doesn’t mean there has been lots of work ongoing with the project, in fact there has been multiple releases and hundreds of pull requests with great new plugins checking for even more issues with your vCenter and lots of bug fixes, in fact this project and the community updating and using it is awesome, here are some the current stats:

  • 954 Commits
  • 64 Contributors (Thanks to all here)
  • 66 Open Issues and 269 Closed Issues

Whats more, one of the most recent releases 6.25 here includes a great new look, the new look is based upon VMwares Clarity framework and personally I think it looks fantastic as you can see below:

vCheck Clarity

Also available (currently in the dev branch) is the brand new dark version of the theme as seen below:

vCheck Clarity Dark

Download for free now!

Download the latest version here:  https://github.com/alanrenouf/vCheck-vSphere/archive/master.zip

And the dev branch version here: https://github.com/alanrenouf/vCheck-vSphere/archive/dev.zip


Using PowerCLI to manage VMware Cloud on AWS

Recently VMware released PowerCLI 6.5.4 and one of the great enhancements in this new version is the ability to work with VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC), but what does that mean?

As you may know by now, VMware Cloud on AWS is a great new joint offering from VMware and AWS to provide a VMware SDDC in the public cloud.

If we break this down a little and think about how we might manage this with PowerShell we can see that we are in pretty good shape.


PowerCLI has always been able to manage our On-Premises SDDC and as the SDDC deployed in VMware Cloud on AWS is still the same software we have always been able to manage that through PowerCLI as well.  With the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell we have also been able to work with the AWS Services.

So whats new then? Added in PowerCLI 6.5.4 was the ability to manage the VMware Cloud on AWS Service features depicted by the green dotted line in the diagram above. For example, what if i wanted to list all my SDDCs available to me or what if i wanted to automate the creation of a new SDDC or what if I wanted to provision or de-provision a new AWS bare metal instance into my SDDC, well now you can, and all from the same shell.

PowerCLI 6.5.4 VMware Cloud on AWS Module

As mentioned in the VMware PowerCLI 6.5.4 Release Blog Post we now have a new module that allows us to work with the VMware Cloud on AWS service, it gives us 3 new cmdlets:

Connect-Vmc –This cmdlet establishes a connection to a VMware Cloud on AWS server.                              

Disconnect-Vmc – This cmdlet closes the connection to the servers specified by the Server parameter.                

Get-VmcService – This cmdlet retrieves PSObject objects that represent a proxy to a VMware Cloud on AWS API service, it essentially allows us to access 100% of the public VMware Cloud on AWS API.

Whilst these are a great start you really need to work with the Get-VMCService and the properties and methods it brings back to really automate the features.  Luckily William Lam, Brian Graf and I have already been working with this cmdlet and wanted to make it easier to use and also provide examples of how to use the cmdlet to work with any of the features available in the VMware Cloud on AWS API now and in the future…..

VMware Cloud on AWS simple functions

This module adds more functions to enable you to easier work with VMware Cloud on AWS, the included functions so far are:

Get-VMCCommand – Returns all cmdlets for VMware Cloud on AWS in both this module and the VMware official module.

Connect-VMCVIServer – This Cmdlet pulls the default SDDC credentials and connects to your VMC vCenter Server to ease the connection from service to SDDC. 

Get-VMCOrg – Returns the Orgs that you have available in VMware Cloud on AWS.                          

Get-VMCSDDC – Returns all of the SDDCs that you have available to you in VMware Cloud on AWS.

Get-VMCSDDCDefaultCredential – Returns the default credential for a given SDDC.

Get-VMCSDDCPublicIP – Returns your Public IPs for a given SDDC.

Get-VMCSDDCVersion – Returns the SDDC Version.

Get-VMCTask – Returns all of the VMC Tasks.                                             

Get-VMCVMHost – Returns the Host information within VMware Cloud on AWS.

Clearly these are just the first set we have worked on as an example, more functions will be added in the future and probably have been by the time you read this post!

An example of some of these being used is below:

How do I get the module?

The module is available in the PowerShell Gallery here so installing could not be simpler, but of course make sure you have PowerCLI 6.5.4 installed first otherwise this module wont do you much good!

PS> Install-Module -Name VMware.VMC -Scope User

How do I contribute to the module?

This module is also available in Github as part of the /PowerCLI-Example-Scripts repo so please do clone the repo, edit the module and contribute back to make this easy for everyone!


Tech Confessions at VMworld BCN 2017

This year I was introduced to a new show put together by Amy Lewis from http://commsninja.com/ and her team called Tech Confessions or as I like to call it “Bedside confessions of a geek”, unofficially of course!

In this show I was able to relax on the comfy couch while Amy quizzed me on how i got started with virtualization, there was something about that couch that made me very relaxed as I think I took Amy pretty much through my entire career up to the point where I made it on stage with Pat during the VMworld 2017 Barcelona conference.

I was proud to be the first of many to share their bedside confessions so make sure you subscribe to the youtube channel or the podcast to keep up to date with other people sharing their software defined experiences.

Ways to Watch/Listen

You can subscribe to the podcast here, check out the Tech Confessions website here or Follow their Youtube channel here

For now, here is my video to keep you going….

Announcing VMware VR Datacenter Experience

It gives me great pleasure to announce a new open source project from VMware called VMware VR Datacenter Experience, this is an immersive experience that allows you to put on your virtual reality headset and take yourself into a virtual management environment where you will be able to control your vSphere Environment with the wave of a hand or click of a button.


The VMware VR Datacenter Experience allows you to use a HTC Vive headset to enter a virtual datacenter where a virtual representation of each of your hosts is created by integration with the vSphere 6.5 REST API, once these are created the VM’s are dropped onto these hosts, one for each VM currently registered with the host.  In this environment you are able to teleport yourself to each of these hosts and interact with the VMs.

You can pick them up to find out more information about their configuration:

VM Details






You can even drop them into a trashcan to remove them from your datacenter:

VM Trash







We even extended it to work with VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) where you could literally throw (vMotion) your VM’s from your On-Premises datacenter into VMC.

Showing you the 2D pictures of this virtual reality environment really does not do it justice, you need to try it to believe it!


At VMware we have internal Hackathon’s where we are able to take a couple of days away from our day job to work on projects which we think are interesting and could provide valuable to VMware, this is a great initiative that fosters

innovation, personally I love working for a company that provides this level of free thinking!  Together with William LamYateendra KulkarniVinod Pai and Steve Trefethen, I put a team together and we set out to work on what a VMware Datacenter would look like in Virtual Reality.

I should mention at this point that none of us had developed for VR before, in fact we had never even used the IDE (Unity) before, that was fun!  After a couple of days we were pleased when we managed to produce a single host and VMs on that host all by calling the vSphere 6.5 REST API.

After this and some internal marketing and some spare time hacking away at the project we came up with something pretty cool that later allowed me to realize one of my bucket list items and present on the main VMworld Keynote stage with Pat Gelsinger (VMware CEO).

VMworld Keynote

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the VMworld Barcelona Keynote then please do take 5 minutes out of your time to watch the demo below that shows the full remit of what we expanded this project to work with.

Where Can I Get this?

The initial project is now available and ready for you to download, it has been cut down to its basics so we can build on it and ensure the code we are adding and the functionality is based around user input.

Of course you will need the following:

Check out the project landing page here for more details: https://vmware.github.io/vr-dc-ex/

And if you want to take a look at the code, ask for more features or even contribute back to the project then please checkout the github repo here: https://github.com/vmware/vr-dc-ex

The Full story

At VMworld I had the chance to catch up with Barry Coombs who interviewed my on this complete story, check out the clip below to learn how a small town boy ended up on stage with a Silicon Valley CEO…