Forum focuses interest on kiosks

Interagency Kiosk Forum

Kiosks have been used by federal agencies for years, but for the first time, the federal government has a group focused on interagency uses for the machines.

The Interagency Kiosk Forum held its first meeting Tuesday, bringing together officials from more than two dozen federal organizations.

Some agencies have used kiosks extensively, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has 91 kiosks in 48 states. Others are testing kiosk programs. And others don't have any kiosks but are interested in working with other agencies that do.

The precise focus of the group is still being defined — the group just agreed on an official name at the meeting — but the concept is that such a group could help shape the future of kiosk programs by helping agencies work together. For example, the U.S. Postal Service said it is looking at creating a kiosk program that eventually could provide users with access to other agencies' services and information.

The forum is spearheaded by Sam Gallagher, HUD's associate Web manager, who also works on the HUD Next Door kiosk program.

One of the group's first tasks will be to create an inventory to determine how many kiosks exist, how many programs are under consideration, what information is presented on existing systems, where they are located and how agencies are using them.

Gallagher acknowledged that the seemingly simple task will be difficult because agencies do not always know what another part of the organization is doing. During introductions at the meeting, for instance, two officials from the Internal Revenue Service did not know that another part of the organization was using kiosks to present taxpayer information.

Participants agreed that the real success of the group will be if agencies can work together on a common kiosk program so citizens would not be confronted with scores of kiosks for each individual governmental organization.

Dorobek is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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