In my last message, I wrote about how IEEE Societies and Technical Councils have adapted and thrived as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and charged Society and Technical Council leadership to continue to be ambitiously forward-thinking. The June Technical Activities Board Meeting marked the halfway point of my term as Technical Activities Vice President, and I am pleased to see that TAB has risen to meet that challenge.
At the beginning of the year, I defined several priority areas for TAB in 2021: Society/Council Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration; Engagement vs. Membership; and Technology Roadmaps. I was happy to report at the June TAB meeting that progress is being made in each of these focus areas, and to share an update on the various types of engagement that TAB is fostering across IEEE.
Society/Council Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
So many of today’s technologies are not limited to one subject area, or the purviews of a single of IEEE’s 46 Societies and Technical Councils. As such, I’ve asked Societies and Councils to proactively identify technical areas that can be most successfully addressed by working together. These include both emerging technologies and existing fields that are relevant to the fields of interest of multiple organizational units. By being proactive and looking at which technologies might soon be emphasized in each Society/Council’s field of interest, we can ensure improved ways to support new and cross-cutting technologies, and that the newest and most groundbreaking technologies transition seamlessly into the fabric of IEEE.
In addition, Societies and Councils will be working closely with the IEEE Future Directions Committee (FDC), which is conducting R&D of emerging technologies for Technical Activities. By helping to identify emerging technologies that we should support, we are building opportunities for future content and revenue sources in Societies and Councils which often incorporate matured FDC projects into their portfolio (such as Smart Grid in IEEE Power & Energy Society, and Cloud Computing in IEEE Computer Society). This helps Societies and Councils inherit a new technology, engaged volunteers, future members, and potential conference or publications revenue sources.
Because cross disciplinary new technologies impact multiple Societies and Councils, I started an ad hoc committee looking at offering multi-Society/Council membership discounts. By offering an attractive grouping of related Societies and Councils as part of the membership discount, we are working to increase volunteer engagement in technical activities and offering those volunteers involved in cross disciplinary technologies with access to related societies and councils.
Engagement vs. Membership
TAB is working diligently to engage those in historically underrepresented groups, including industry, government, and entrepreneurs, beginning with developing relevant content for these audiences. To help with this, TAB will be supporting a new initiative pilot project in Silicon Valley, which hosts a multitude of tech industries that cross into Society/Council areas. The introduction of a business development hub office will help identify ways IEEE can engage more effectively with industry and entrepreneurs.
Also of significant importance is engagement with Chapters and other local groups. Partnering with Chapters on related activities is crucial to the success of IEEE and to tackle declining membership in certain areas. Through the remainder of 2021, TAB will focus on improving Chapter connection and support with Technical Activities, beginning with implementation of recommendations defined by a recent ad hoc committee. This will include starting new Chapters at academic institutions and initiating new projects generated by Chapter volunteers. In addition, I hope to share more information about a pilot project on Local Chapters and the Technical Community 2.0 program in a future message.
Roadmaps set frameworks and establish priorities around emerging technologies. They serve as a blueprint for where technology is headed, and how to support its potential. The purpose of a technology roadmap is to stimulate an industry-wide dialogue to address the many facets and challenges of the development and implementation of an emerging technology in a well-coordinated and comprehensive manner. Roadmaps do not solely provide information; they create an opportunity to engage closely with industry, government, and academic experts.
In addition to creating new roadmaps, we are attempting to make them more visible. In support of IEEE’s leadership on technology roadmaps, a trademarked logo was established. Leveraging a crowdsourcing contest, over 130 designs were submitted from over 60 designers, and members of the IEEE Roadmaps Committee (IRC) and user’s group voted on the top 8 designs.
I welcome you to learn more about IEEE’s roadmap initiatives, including what roadmaps are planned and existing and how you can contribute, by visiting roadmaps.ieee.org.
Finally, I’d like to invite you to learn more about IEEE’s 263 Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) chapters worldwide. HKN is the IEEE honor society, and TAB has committed to collaborating with HKN to engage volunteers and members, especially in emerging geographic regions. To learn more about HKN and how you can become a member, visit the IEEE HKN webpage.
Thank you for your continued support of TAB and engagement with IEEE.
Roger U. Fujii
2021 Vice President, IEEE Technical Activities