“We really wanted to be very creative with the assets we had, and we wanted to make sure for every asset we had, we leveraged it to its maximum potential across all requirements,” according to Archana Vemulapalli, Washington, DC’s chief technology officer.

At Smart Cities Week 2017, TechRepublic’s Teena Maddox spoke with Vemulapalli, to discuss how Washington, DC approaches smart city technology.

One way the city uses smart tech to its advantage is through street lights. Vemulapalli said the city leveraged the lights to analyze movement, track other data that can improve parking, and help the police department.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to the rise of smart cities (Tech Pro Research)

Vumulapalli stressed that it is important to understand your city’s unique challenges. Washington, DC deals with a lot of mobility challenges, with over a million people who work in the city and large amounts of tourists on a daily basis, so the city’s goal is to find a way to handle the volume of traffic coming in and out.

“For any city that’s looking to [use] smart city technology, the first thing you have to do is to know and define what you want your city to be,” Vemulapalli said. This is almost always a nontechnical discussion, she added. Afterward, the technical solutions to the city plan come into play.

“If you don’t pay attention to your city and your nuances, you will quickly get lost in imitating someone else,” said Vemulapalli.

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