Interesting, but before I get started, let make sure I understand the question. There are several different types of Chromecasts, but I’m assuming that this question only refers to the video Chromecasts (2.0 and Ultra), not the audio Chromecast.
OK, so Chromecast is basically a device that allows someone with a smartphone to mirror their screen to a TV. It’s almost like a low-cost bring-your-own-device competitor to Apple TV and directly competes against Roku. This is a consumer-oriented product which is especially integrated with other google streaming products like Youtube and Music, but also Netflix and other video apps.
Choose a metric:
Being both a hardware device and a software driven streaming technology, to determine how to improve it, I want to look for the largest area of opportunity. Given it’s low cost, I don’t see hardware driven sales increases being a significant source of new revenue. On the software side, I can look at how to improve it’s use. When used with google streaming services, it can drive revenue through serving ads. So that is how there is a relationship between engagement and revenue. If I were to improve it by finding a new market for it, however, we could see new sales and shortly after, an increase in engagement.
Let’s consider new markets for Chromecast:
To enter a new market, I would focus on the one that is the least served relative to it’s need to display content on large screens. In my opinion that would be education. To measure the success of adoption in education, I would look to improve sales revenue at first and then engagement.
In education there are two primary users to consider:
Teachers – Want to display content for lessons
Students – Need to see content
For hundreds of years teachers have adopted the paradigm of having a large surface to display content for students to view. In essence, teachers need to:
Display images, videos, and presentations
Write and draw content
Erase, annotate and modify displayed content
Ensure students see the content
View students’ lessons
Students need to:
See what’s on the screen
Teachers needs are unfulfilled by today’s classrooms because:
They cannot have students do the equivalent of “coming up to the board” with a projected computer screen.
They cannot use their mobile devices and move around the classroom while running a presentation
They cannot replay the lesson for absent students
Students need are unfulfilled because:
They may not be able to see the screen
They can’t take notes by looking back and forth between the screen and their notepad
The teacher might go too fast and they miss something
Some ideas for Chromecast functionality to enter this market:
A. Cast to the student devices in the classroom – ability to cast to many screens at once, especially useful when there is no large screen present.
B. Upload stream to be viewed by absent students – ability to record the stream and also capture teacher audio via mobile device.
C. Google chalkboard app with Chromecast streaming – ability for casting live drawing and writing from a mobile device. Possibly let’s multiple people draw on the chalkboard at the same time.
D. Split-screen casting – allows student to cast to master screen but keeps original content on screen as well
E. Question / Comment casting – ability for students to cast up a question/comment to the main cast
To augment the core Chromecast functionality, I want to focus on the solution with the largest impact to an unfulfilled need.
Solution A. Comes with many risks, such as students only pretending to follow cast while using their mobile device. Basically having kids use mobile devices in the classroom will not be desirable by teachers. Also, strong alternatives exist with screen sharing competition. Likely discard.
Solution B. Useful when absent, but limited in usefulness beyond that. Delighter.
Solution C. Core need. Whiteboards are the largest competition here and will be tough to beat. Opportunity exists in bringing smart whiteboards to the masses.
Solution D. Delighter. This is modeled from classic classroom interactions and could add value by enriching classroom participation in the digital age.
Solution E. Delighter. Alternative of raising hand and asking question is age old practice that will need a more compelling reason to change. Could also be problematic when questions in queue are asked and answered.
To make a compelling entry into the classroom, the best solution to pursue is the chalkboard app with chrome cast streaming. This would enrich the classroom by better organizing important teacher content which is today ephemeral. It also aligns nicely with Google’s mission to organize the world’s information. With the other existing abilities of the Chromecast and its low cost, it would be a compelling product. Also, it would pair well with the Google Classroom suite of products. There are about 150,000 schools in the US (public, private and university), so I would measure success by penetrating at least 10% of schools over one year. For those 15,000 schools, I could further segment to determine how many classrooms. With one chrome cast per classroom, I could then estimate the total number of Chromecast sales in one year. I’d divide that by 12 for a KPI to be evaluated at one month post-launch.