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Alumni-run business named Technology Company of the Year

May 12, 2010

by Ashley Dison

A company established by two Tech graduates and located on Tech’s campus serves as the prime example of technological advancement and innovation, according to the Louisiana Technology Council.

The LTC named Network Foundation Technologies, a live-stream broadcast service provider, 2010 Technology Company of the Year, out of 18 nominated Louisiana businesses.

Co-founder of NiFTy, Marcus Morton, said he sees the award as a huge accomplishment, not only for NiFTy, but for north Louisiana as well.

“We are very excited to be the first company from North Louisiana to win the award,” Morton said. “We had some great competition, and I think that shows the whole state of Louisiana is making great strides in the high technology sector.”

According to businessreport.com, a Baton Rouge business news site, only one other North Louisiana company, Arc Mail Technology, Inc., of Shreveport, was nominated.

Michael O’Neal, a professor of computer science, partnered with Morton in building NiFTy, and the two continue to work together to further develop the business.

Morton, who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business, said several local economic development officials contributed time toward NiFTy’s nomination for the award, especially Kathy Wyatt, director of the Technology Business Development Center.

Wyatt said NiFTy deserved the recognition for a number of reasons, all of which stem from its innovative, cost-effective technology.

“NiFTy’s technology allows the computers and Internet connections of viewers watching a broadcast to help deliver that broadcast on to other viewers,” Wyatt said. “This model helps manage costs while providing high-quality video transmission.”

Morton said he is proud of the patented method for cutting costs and conserving energy simultaneously.

“We have invented and perfected a very ‘disruptive’ technology that significantly lowers the cost to broadcast live, online,” Morton said. “That is a very big deal, because not only does it change the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of online viewing, but we also save significant amounts of energy by reducing the number of servers needed to broadcast that content online. I am proud of how ‘green’ we are.”

As well as the recognition NiFTy received through the award, the company has been recently used by Sen. Mary Landrieu as a model of success in her work as an advocate for affordable, universal broadband service for Louisiana.

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, Landrieu wrote, “In partnership with Louisiana Tech and utilizing broadband, NiFTy pumps signals throughout the country and around the world from Ruston, Louisiana-a mid-sized town in a rural, northeast part of our state.”

Morton said NiFTy would not be the success it is without Tech’s influence.

“Tech has been incredibly important to us,” Morton said. “I would guess that without Tech, we would not be in Louisiana at all, and probably not even in business. The bulk of our employees are Tech graduates and students.”

He also said NiFTy was awarded an esteemed research award by the National Science Foundation, which he said would not have been possible without NiFTy’s connection to Tech.

Wyatt said NiFTy continues to progress, and the future of broadcast technology essentially belongs to them.

She said, “At present, NiFTy is bringing television to the Internet; eventually, NiFTy’s technology will allow any of us to create an online television station of our own.”

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