Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY), one of the nation’s largest payments processors and leading provider of merchant business solutions, has been named one of the top technology innovators in the U.S. for seven years in a row by InformationWeek, ranking #106 on the 2013 InformationWeek 500. Heartland’s award represented recognition for its innovative SmartLink managed network solution. Initially designed to displace third-party vendors and ensure secure, reliable connectivity for transaction transport at merchant locations, Heartland’s homegrown solution has enabled Heartland to better serve merchant customers while realizing significant operational efficiencies and cumulative significant internal cost savings. Continuing SmartLink’s development into a full-featured managed network service that delivers first-of-its-kind technology to securely transmit both transactional data as well as integral back-office information, Heartland transformed this internal IT initiative into the company’s fastest-growing organic line of business by helping merchants address the growing complexities of managing network connectivity. “It is an honor to once again be named to the InformationWeek 500 and to be recognized for the pioneering advancements that are driving value for our enterprise and our merchant customers alike,” said Bob Carr, Heartland’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Network connectivity is the technological crux of business today, and it will only become more crucial in the years ahead as organizations rely more heavily on web- and cloud-based services for payment processing as well as for a host of other functions ranging from marketing to food safety monitoring. For this reason, we are continuing to invest in the development of SmartLink as a business enabler that allows merchants to monitor and manage activity across their network and utilize that information to make critical business decisions.” SmartLink was first introduced for petroleum/convenience stores and is used today by leading petroleum marketers including CITGO and Martin Eagle Oil Company to consolidate multiple in-store devices onto one high-speed broadband line and provide monitored communications for automatic tank gauges, in-store environmental control systems, back-office systems, digital signs, email and Internet.