Chromecast: A Digital Swiss Army Knife for Event Makers
Flat out, everyone should have a Google Chromecast. How could you not when this handy little streaming stick is only thirty bucks? For your average consumer, it’s a great way to bring all of our favorite streaming services to the big screen. For an event maker, the Chromecast has a lot of nifty tricks up its sleeve, allowing you to take greater advantage of any display at your disposal. Here are few ways we’ve found the Chromecast can come in handy with your next event.
- We’ve all been there. You’ve built out the PERFECT presentation only to not have a way of projecting it onto a larger screen. The Chromecast acts as a great backup when these technological headaches arise, allowing you to “cast” your desktop to whatever it’s plugged in to. The Chromecast itself is no bigger than a USB thumb drive, leaving you no excuse to not always have it in your laptop bag. Plug it in to the nearest HDMI port and you’re good to go. Show off all of your potential venues and artists without having to huddle around your tiny laptop screen.
- Chromecast is also capable of mirroring your Android device. Say you took photos while scouting for an event location or took video when interviewing potential freelancers. Simply connect and share.
- Hosting and organizing events will often lead to some sort of travel. If these ventures include an overnight stay in a hotel room, the Chromecast helps to create an impromptu office environment. Using the streaming method mentioned above, you can use the hotel TV as a second monitor for your laptop. This could be used for productive reasons, displaying your current project on a bigger screen, or it could be used to have some Netflix on in the background as you work away.
- If your event features music but doesn’t have a live DJ, Chromecast works wonders in creating an interactive experience for your attendees. Plug the Chromecast into your sound system and boot up “QCast” on your Android device. It might be smart to have one of these handy, as it creates an easy way to use your Chromecast with any speakers. Having created a playlist beforehand, anyone with the QCast can access your list of songs and vote on what song they want to hear. As the host, you have the ultimate say on what song truly plays next. This allows you to keep the playlist under control, preventing Taylor Swift from being played for the fourth time in a row. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Just because you want an endless night of Wilson Phillips, doesn’t mean everyone else will.
- Pair your Chromecast with a service like strea.ma to create a live social media feed. Not only is it a great way for your attendees to contribute to the experience, but it’s also a smart way of gathering content for future promotions. Setup the feed on your laptop or desktop and then stream that tab to whatever display is connected to your Chromecast. Make sure a SPECIFIC hashtag is associated with your event. Something as broad as “#DanceParty” will flood your feed with unrelated Tweets and Photos. On the other end, make sure your audience is aware of the hashtag. Have it prominently displayed either on screen or just above or below. Just like QCast, it’s smart to have someone monitoring what content is being funneled though.
Multiple Display Control
- At $30 a piece, there isn’t a cheaper way to control multiple displays. A great starting point would be using the ideas listed above. One display could show the current votes for the next song while another would display the social media feed. A more involved setup could divide the social media feed into even more displays, each being dedicated to a specific platform. One would show current tweets, another would be for Instagram photos, etc. From curated YouTube playlists to live camera feeds, it only costs $30 to bring another display on board. To make it easy, Chromecast gives you the ability to “name” the device the first time you set it up. A simple method for distinguishing multiple Chromecasts is to name them based on their function. For example, one might be labeled “Music Feed” while another would be named “Social Media.” To change or control each display, pull up the list of available Chromecasts in your vicinity and easily find the one your looking for based on its unique name.
- This idea is less extravagant, but one that I found to be strangely amusing. Using your Chromecast as a virtual window is a great way to supplement whatever ambience you might be striving for. “Open up” a smaller venue by displaying a “virtual window” with open skies outside. For something a little more moody, check out this virtual city scape with moving raindrops. Not going to lie, I had this one up on my second monitor all day.
This is just scraping the surface, as we know there are endless possibilities with this amazing little device. What successes have you had with using the Chromecast? Do you have a favorite or unique idea that we missed? We’d love to adopt any ideas that you might have, so share them in the comments below!