Surphoria launches SurfStationsTM–signs contract for national ad campaign

“The people who designed and implemented the Surphoria SurfstationsTM are from left: Scott Goerig, director of business development; Matt Mosley, director of operations; and Chris Akin, founder and CEO. On the regular monitors next to them are samples of advertising from local businesses that will be seen on the SurfstationsTM units. (Photo by Bonnie West) Chris Akin meant no disrespect to his wife when he wondered how the Giants were doing as he paced a hospital’s maternity waiting area while she was in labor. On that day an idea and his first child were born. Two years later his daughter is thriving, and he’s ready to pass out cigars at his Tacoma company, Surphoria, which has just begun its launch of fifty of its innovative products-SurfStationsTM-a wall-mounted, steel-encased computer, keyboard, and track ball system on which visitors in hospital waiting areas can access selected Internet sites. The units are free to use, fast, and completely secure. We figured out that there was a need, for people on the go wherever they might be, to stay connected to Internet access, said Akin, founder and CEO of Surphoria. They want the ability to stay in touch with everything in this world moving at light speed, and to check stocks, e-mail, news, sports scores-and there is a huge market need for that in a public setting. What we wanted to do was focus on medical settings first, because of the fact that many people are doing nothing in these facilities but worrying and reading the same magazine titles from three years prior.Four healthcare systems and one large restaurant chain have already signed the dotted line to provide their clients with the easy Internet access and e-mail that is driven by a state-of-the-art and proprietary advertising and sponsorship model.By focusing on medical facilities, Surphoria has penetrated a vertical market advertisers have been longing to gain access to, said Scott Goerig, director for business development.The SurfStationaTM plays full-screen electronic billboard advertisements when not in use, and smaller electronic billboards while in use.The first fifty SurfStationsTM are currently being launched in the Tacoma/Seattle area and 47,000 are projected nationally over the next five years. Surphoria has contracted New York-based Sickbay Health Media as its exclusive Ad agency into the pharmaceutical and health industry.The SurfStationsTM and the access it offers to consumers is a welcomed addition to our integrated media network, said Mark R. Basile, CEO of Sickbay Health Media, Inc. Surphoria’s SurfStationsTM represents a significant and valuable tool for access to valuable health information and products at the point of need, Basile added.Sickbay Health Media, Inc., is the leading health media company that produces original, authoritative and trusted health information and media services delivered through print, Internet and traditional broadcast media. Sickbay also develops original health-related productions for radio, television and print media that covers the broad spectrum of health issues, medications, and general well being, and maintains a popular health site at The site has been ranked as one of the top healthcare websites and has been ranked number one in the categories of Page Views Per User, Average Time Spent Per User, and Average Time Spent Per Page, for the last four months, according to PC Data, a third party Internet Auditor. The SurfStationsTM placement and utility greatly enhances branding opportunities by bringing the web to the point of service. We are excited to include this media and resource tool into our convergence network, Basile said.Currently, Surphoria has over 85 sponsors, content providers, and industry partners. They not only offer a free service to consumers, they also provide advertisers a new way to interact with consumers by delivering messages in an extremely targeted context. Advertisers can now bridge the gap between building brand and closing the sale, all in one targeted and effective context, Akin said. We believe this consumer interaction will increase the marketers chances of a product purchase as well as help build long-term loyalties. For advertisers, these smaller in-session billboards directly link to demographic questionnaires, surveys, websites or anything else within an advertiser’s strategy. And Surphoria’s proprietary technology tracks all usage data. Clients are given monthly updates to measure performance metrics and can make changes to their advertising easily and as necessary.The facilities in which the stations are located are also able to advertise their services, or provide updates on health issues for their waiting clients.For example, a hospital may have upcoming seminars on heart health or diabetes issues that they want to have visitors to their facility aware of. This is a way to reach them. The possibilities with the product are endless. Other planned targeted venues include airlines, cruise ships, grocery stores, and coffee houses.Surphoria will be deploying additional units into the 40 major metropolitan markets around the United States, and plans to gain the Canadian market as well. How do the Surphoria SurfStationsTM work?These units are built with everybody in mind regardless of age or their technology aptitude, said Chris Akin, founder and CEO of Surphoria. We’re not targeting a specific consumer or group of users. Whether you’ve touched a computer before or not doesn’t matter. You can easily access the information you want. You walk up to the unit, click the mouse or key on the keyboard and begin surfing.He said the following interest areas can be accessed: News/Weather Traffic Sports Finance-like buying selling stocks and banking E-mail and Fax capabilities EntertainmentThey can also click on a health button which brings up health resources, with everything from, to look at your own surgery procedures, to Planex RX, where you can research drugs and prescriptions.Akin said the sites chosen weren’t arbitrarily. Consumers told us what they wanted, and we chose national, regional, and locally-based web content providers based on their feedback. In the news area, for example, we have CNN, Northwest Cable News, and KOMO.Contact Surphoria at 253/573-1095, e-mail:, or visit their website at: “