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The possibilities available to create a smart city seem endless. Technology allows innovations like smart infrastructure that can track public works projects to sensors that identify open parking spots to free public wifi. But how do municipal CIOs decide what’s worth investing in? And how can they ensure projects in process have the best chance of success? has highlighted five cities that are trying to maximize their investments in smart technology to bring the greatest benefit to their citizens. Toronto’s CIO, Rob Meikle, is glad to have so many options coming out of the tech sector, but cautions,. “If you are not careful, you can be chasing a whole lot of things and not necessarily be getting the outcomes and the value you were hoping to achieve.”

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The secret, say these five CIOs, is to maximize the tech assets you already have; then figure out the outcome you want to achieve and work from there. For New York City, that means closing the digital divide by offering free city WiFi. For Atlanta CIO Samir Saini, that means addressing ““urgent need[s]” as they bubble up from the citizenry and are expressed by the council and the mayor, which could be anything from replacing aging infrastructure to enhancing public city. Las Vegas is all about innovation. “No idea is a bad idea,” says CIO Joe Marcella. “Every one of them deserves to be vetted, and some of them deserve to be tried. We are not afraid to make those kinds of mistakes.”

In an era of tight public sector budgets, and citizens demanding more accessible public services, smart technology and integrated systems could be the way to do more with less. Take a look at our resources on how technology can be cleverly deployed in the public sector.