Advanced Kiosks Visits Big Sky Country

Advanced Kiosks installed the first Aegis Booth as part of its contract with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and suffice it to say it was an adventure for all.

Advanced Kiosks won a contract with the DOI for a kiosk system that will allow members of Native American Tribes to securely talk by video conferencing to Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA) representatives and access federal
benefits. Getting qualified personnel to remote locations to work with Native American Tribes is very difficult in these rural areas. The BTFA contacted Advanced Kiosk for a highly customized assisted self-service system to simulate an in-person meeting.

The first Aegis Booth kiosk is located at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation near Poplar, Mont. The reservation is home to both the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. The nearest airports to Fort Peck are ones in Williston, N.D., 140 miles away, or Bozeman, Mont., about 400 miles away. Because the contract included installation, members of the Advanced Kiosk team traveled to Fort Peck in late July.

Advanced Kiosks Production Manager, Keith, installs Aegis Booth prototype at it’s new home in Ft. Peck Indian Reservation, MT

Considering recent disruptions in air travel, Advanced Kiosks president Howard Horn left for Bozeman on Thursday, three days ahead of the planned setup date.

“The Fort Peck Reservation is not an easy place to get to even under ideal conditions,” Horn said. “Our main goal was to make sure we get there on time if there were any travel issues, and we did have issues,” he said. “There were plane delays and cancellations, rental car problems and hotels with no rooms. So, we flew into Bozeman where we knew we could get a rental car and brought our equipment and camping gear.”

When the team got to Montana, the question was: what were they going to do for three days? They decided to spend some time at Glacier National Park along the U.S.-Canada border. The park covers more than 1 million acres and includes parts of two mountain ranges.

Breathtaking views at Glacier National Park

“I called every hotel in the area and found two cancelations at two different hotels for Friday and Saturday nights,” he said. “It was beautiful, there weren’t TVs at the hotels where we stayed, and if you wanted to connect to the Internet you had to go out on the front porch, we had a great time.” Sunday, Horn just missed a deadly dust storm on the seven-hour drive to Poplar, Mont, but he made it to Fort Peck on Monday. Everyone else involved in the project was delayed 2 days.

Advanced Kiosks President Howard Horn in Montana, July 2022

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 30% of the residents of the Fort Peck reservation lack health coverage. The area has traditionally suffered from high unemployment and high poverty rates, indicating the kiosk project is desperately needed.

“Several studies have made it clear that Native Americans are disproportionately underserved and economically vulnerable,” said Advanced Kiosks president Howard Horn. “These kiosks will be one step along the journey to eliminating those inequities.”

Advanced Kiosks’ contract is for one year with the option for more booth kiosks at other remote locations. The first booth was installed and is still undergoing testing.

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