By Don KramerFebruary 27, 2009
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - "OneStop Army kiosks" are standing tall as of this morning at 10 high-personnel-traffic locations on Fort Lewis.
The machines will revolutionize individuals' abilities to sound off to service providers, according to DiAnn Sanders, the management and program analyst who administers the Interactive Customer Evaluation system for the garrison out of the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office.
But that's only the beginning.
Garrison commander Col. Cynthia A. Murphy and her staff have worked for months to tailor the Department of Defense-wide program to Fort Lewis and focus its information-age power on an array of local needs.
The DynaTouch kiosks provide a wide range of information about Fort Lewis services and facilities. Though the ICE customer-feedback system plays an important part in the machines' usefulness, their touch screens and keyboards will make it simple to also navigate through relevant topics to find updated pay information, current on- and off-post housing details and current recreation opportunities among many others. A printer in every station allows users to keep hard copies of their findings. Controls to change volume and enlarge type make the screens easy to use for anyone.
"You can see that it's eye catching and very clear," Sanders said of the first three screens, with a nod to Web master Solomon Belisario and Web designer Sarah Staub from the Directorate of Information Management.
The home screens of every kiosk proclaim "It's your Fort Lewis, tell us what you think," which says it all, Sanders said of the ICE function.
There are two buttons on the next screen, one that takes users directly into the ICE system to provide feedback, positive or negative, on any of 160 services provided on the installation. The second, a "OneStop" button, links to another screen with nine subject headings and opens a world of services and facilities.
The breadth of the information make the kiosks useful stations for everyone on Fort Lewis - civil servants, retirees, family members as well as Soldiers. Sanders said their one-stop nature makes them valuable to newcomers to the installation, especially those new to the region.
One of the nine buttons on the "OneStop" screen takes users into the installation Resource Guide, which provides instant and detailed contact information for service providers.
"We wanted to make sure the kiosk machines (are) able to service everybody on the installation," Sanders said. "So (for example) if you're a retiree and want to know the services available, this kiosk is loaded with information that covers every service on Fort Lewis. It helps you make appointments, dental, for example."
Soldiers and family members on the move, incoming and departing the installation, will find information on nearly every service they require at their fingertips.
Self-explanatory tabs guide users to other Web links. Sanders said two handy features of the kiosks are their access to individual Army Knowledge Online accounts, via password or Civilian Activity Card, and the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, which governs eligibility for a variety of services. Features such as these make the kiosks invaluable to those who don't have ready access to computers. A built-in security feature times out the screen if a user forgets to log off.
The most recent addition is a "What's new'" tab. The PAIO will systematically update the machines through DOIM with upcoming local and regional events.
The machines' arrival for duty came at the end of a lengthy interdirectorate effort, Sanders said, including her own PAIO, DOIM, logistics, public works and public affairs. Power drops and connectivity issues as well as customer traffic factored into the kiosks' placement at Waller Hall, Rainier Lodge, Child and Youth Services, the reception center, Soldiers Field House, Stone Education Center, the Visitor Center, Madigan Army Medical Center, Wilson Sports and Fitness Center and Jensen Family Health and Fitness Center.
Though responsibility for coordinating the obtaining, loading and placing the kiosks falls on Sanders' office, she made clear who are the true owners of the system.
"We want to tell every customer, you're the proponent for this machine on Fort Lewis. We want your feedback," Sanders said. "We want to keep Soldiers in mind that this is information that will be helpful to you and your family."
Don Kramer is a reporter with Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian.