When enterprises are on the hunt for new IT hardware, the list of preferred vendors seldom includes Google. And that’s perfectly fine, given that the Big G’s forte is still software (though more accurately, and increasingly, their software capabilities are enabling them to forge new pathways into other areas such as hardware).
One such foray into hardware is the Chromecast, a tiny piece that packs a lot of punch.
What it does
In a sentence, the Chromecast turns any HDMI-enabled display into a smart display. Once up and running, you can:
- wirelessly stream YouTube, NetFlix, photo galleries, and many other media services from your phone or computer directly to the TV
- mirror the screen from your phone or computer, wirelessly
- enable more than one person to connect and share content on the same screen
… and numerous other nifty tricks.
Chromecast for Business: How relevant is it?
Presentations – Wireless, Seamless, Multi-user
By far, the most useful feature of the Chromecast for the business world, in my opinion, is its ability to enable smooth delivery of presentation content. Furthermore, switching between users is made simple as there’s no fiddling with cables – it’s wireless.
- Plug the Chromecast into the HDMI port of the presentation screen or projector.
- Ensure your device can detect the Chromecast on the network.
- Setup the Chromecast following the very simple on-screen instructions to connect to your wireless network.
- Stream from your device:
- If streaming from a computer, use the Chromecast extension in your Google Chrome browser to open your presentation/video file and cast your entire screen to the Chromecast, and voila! Success.
- If streaming from a mobile device, use the official Chromecast app from Google to stream your mobile device’s screen, or alternatively, use a compatible Chromecast app or plugin (such as LocalCast).
- To switch presenters, simply follow the above steps on the next presenter’s device.
Note: For PowerPoint and KeyNote presentations, one might first need to convert to PDF before streaming it via the Chrome browser, or open them using an online app.
Digital Advertising – Videos, Photos… without the pricetag.
Digital photo frames became ubiquitous due to their ease of setup to augment marketing efforts in shopfronts. This also led to a surge in business for digital signage agencies. But why put a dent in the marketing budget when you can get it done at low cost yourself? Simply plug a Chromecast into an existing LCD monitor, and setup a nearby device (phone, laptop, tablet) to stream photos or videos of products and services to the Chromecast, and your digital advertising strategy just scored itself a boost for the price of a Chromecast (AUD $49, USD $35).
TIP: What if I don’t want to share my entire screen? Is there a better way?
Sure. Here’s one way. I use a Chrome extension called PlayTo and it essentially detects almost any video on a web page and prompts me to stream it to my Chromecast. If I choose yes, it instructs the Chromecast to play it, removing the necessity of mirroring my laptop screen. This allows me to continue using my laptop without interfering with whatever is being streamed to the Chromecast.
Of course, the above is just a brief showcase of the Chromecast’s utility. You may find it being useful in other scenarios, but in a business context, I find it is heavily underutilised. With the above scenarios being relatively easy to setup, the enterprise would do well to invest in a tiny dongle with huge potential.
How do you use the Chromecast? Let me know in the comments or tweets.