In my last message, I wrote about how we have had to process the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the IEEE, including Technical Activities, has adapted in countless ways to the challenges presented.
As we look toward the last IEEE Board Series of 2020, I am reminded of how there have been so few opportunities to work with my colleagues in Technical Activities face-to-face this year. I am inspired, however, by what has been accomplished in this time of mostly virtual engagement, including the work of the 2020 Technical Activities Board (TAB) ad hoc committees.
Two of this year’s TAB ad hoc committees have already completed their work – the 2020 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Sections Congress, and the 2020 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on 21 Day/24 Hour Rule. I would like to thank the members of these committees for their service; the former to oversee IEEE Technical Activities’ participation in this year’s Sections Congress (which was sadly canceled) and the latter to explore a way to conduct TAB business more efficiently and effectively.
The remaining two TAB ad hoc committees are focused on better serving our diverse membership. The 2020 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on New Constituent Model and Opportunities demonstrates TAB’s commitment to new and emerging technologies. By identifying a simple, scalable framework to incubate new technical communities, Technical Activities will be better prepared to break down past silos and build improved ways to support new and cross-cutting technologies.
IEEE is as diverse globally as it is technically, yet currently almost all IEEE web sites and IEEE Xplore content is discoverable and presented only in the English language. To better serve the global community, the task of the 2020 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Accelerate Localization/Globalization of Technical Content is to determine the feasibility of finding and presenting content on IEEE websites and IEEE Xplore in languages in addition to English (with version of records still in English). Progress has been made by leaps and bounds in machine translation based on machine learning, and it is timely to consider finding/presenting content in languages in addition to English. The committee is working to evaluate potential solutions and will produce a feasibility report and determine recommendations.
In addition to these four TAB ad hoc committees, TAB has collaborated across multiple OUs via several joint ad hoc activities.
The IEEE Joint MGA/TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Improving Chapter Support formed to ensure quality member engagement at all levels: Regions, Sections, and TAB must work together to support Chapters. As Chapter support varies by organizational unit, this collaborative activity aims to increase member engagement by providing the tools and resources Chapters need in order to better serve their local members.
A joint strategy for IEEE publications was approved by TAB and PSPB in November 2019. The IEEE Joint TAB/PSPB Ad Hoc Committee to Operationalize Publications Joint Strategy was created to work with these OUs, plus IEEE Publications Operations, to define methods for implementing the approved joint strategy, and to lead the IEEE publishing business through a time of dramatic transformation.
The IEEE Joint TAB/MGA Ad Hoc Committee on Geographic – Technical Activities is working to re-energize Sections and incubate new Chapters by proposing to create “Local Groups”. The introduction of Local Groups would provide an environment where the IEEE is always relevant to those who engage with it. The committee will share more about this proposal at the November Board Series.
Finally, the IEEE Joint TAB/MGA/SA Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainable Development was chartered to act upon the IEEE Board of Directors’ recent resolution on issues of sustainability by mobilizing IEEE constituencies and members, and engaging with external partners and organizations.
As you can see, the important work of these TAB and multi-OU ad hoc committees positions the IEEE for a brighter future by defining new initiatives to better support the global technology community. It is crucial that the IEEE adapts to the ever-changing landscape of technology and continue to energize and engage current and potential members.
While the November TAB meeting will again, as in June, be held virtually for the safety of our members, I am looking forward to hearing more about the work of these ad hoc committees, and excited to share their year-end accomplishments in my next message.
2020 Vice President, IEEE Technical Activities