A Message from the 2021 Technical Activities Vice President

Dear Colleagues, 

In my previous messages, I wrote about how we have had to process the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how IEEE, including the Technical Activities Board (TAB) and Societies and Councils, has adapted in countless ways to the challenges presented. While the response to COVID-19 shaped my thinking at the beginning of my term, it unfortunately remains a presence as I close out my time as TA-VP. 

While there has been disruption to in-person meetings, and we have continued to meet virtually this year, I am pleased with what TAB has accomplished, especially in the focus areas identified earlier in the year: 

  • Society/Council Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
  • Engagement vs. Membership; and, 
  • Technology Roadmaps

Each of these focus areas has centered on the efforts of volunteer-driven ad hoc committees, which include those specific to TAB as well as collaborative efforts working across multiple organizational units. TAB has also strengthened these focus areas through the efforts of its membership and standing committees. The below update is just a small summary of the extensive work by TAB in 2021. 

Society/Council Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

New and Emerging Technologies

To demonstrate commitment to new and emerging technologies, Technical Activities members have been identifying new ways to adapt to technological evolution. As part of these efforts, the 2021 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Technical Community 2.0 was created to build an overall plan for a stable framework to support current and future Technical Communities via an improved “Technical Community 2.0” (TC).The committee has developed an overall framework around the following principles:

  1. Offer a more nimble and supported environment for new activities 
    1. Provide success routes through additional start-up support 
    2. Allow “ownership” of assets – new activities to increase financial appeal for integration with existing S/Cs after start-up phase or graduate to successful ongoing multi-OU entity
  2. Improve IEEE’s engagement with industry and other outside institutions 
  3. TC 2.0 could be a less formal way to connect multiple S/Cs around an emerging topic
  4. Increase IEEE community activities within a new or emerging technical area
  5. Create new cross-collaborative engagement in an emerging technical area

After reviewing the framework, the TAB Management Committee (TMC) approved a pilot test of one TC 2.0 based on the principles developed by the TC 2.0 Ad Hoc for one year to finalize the proposal and governance language for approval by TMC and TAB in November 2022.

Operational Efficiency

Several 2021 ad hoc activities were created to review operational and governance efforts in TAB, which help keep Societies and Councils running smoothly and optimize opportunities for collaboration.  

Because cross disciplinary new technologies impact multiple Societies and Councils, the 2021 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Multi-Society Dues Discounting in Join/Renew Process was formed.

To ensure that governance is supporting TAB and its Societies and Councils as effectively and efficiently as possible, the 2021 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Society/Council Life Cycle was charged with reviewing the current process for the creation and establishment of a Society and Council as outlined in the TAB Operations Manual.

The IEEE publishing business is undergoing a dramatic transformation and the ecosystem is continuously evolving. The IEEE TAB/PSPB Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Publications Strategy was renewed with TAB, PSPB, and IEEE Publications Operations to continue to evaluate the landscape and implement the joint TAB/PSPB publications strategy.

Engagement vs. Membership

TA was actively involved in defining the requirements for the IEEE NextGen Oracle development.  TA members were key in setting the requirements for Financial Transparency and the definition of the Chart of Accounts that would lead to new financial reports giving publication editors and conference organizers detailed information about their product’s gross revenue, cost of goods sold expenses, and the various Corporate overhead and general administration and accounting expenses.

Supporting Local Engagement

For IEEE to best ensure quality member engagement at all levels, Regions (MGA), Sections, and TAB need to be able to work together to support Chapters.

The IEEE Joint MGA/TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Improving Chapter Support was formed in 2020 and renewed in 2021 to increase member engagement by providing the tools and resources Chapters need in order to best serve their local members.

To effectively align the membership efforts mentioned thus far in this report, the 2021 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Membership Engagement was formed. This ad hoc, composed of representatives from TA and MGA, worked to evaluate Technical Activities efforts focused on community and membership-related issues.

Engaging a Global Community

To serve the global community better, the TAB Ad Hoc Committee on Language Translation of Content was renewed in 2021 to develop a plan and budget for implementing language translation of technical content from English to other languages. The ad hoc will continue to explore this area, as well as three relevant business models, by securing funding of $30K USD from the IEEE New Initiatives Committee to conduct a pilot test to evaluate quality, speed, and cost of content translation. 

Creating new opportunities for members to engage with relevant content has also been an effort in 2021. The 2021 TAB Ad Hoc Committee on IEEE App Strategy was chartered to develop strategic advice to TAB entities on how to best engage with IEEE-wide digital assets and applications, and to invest, support, and drive TA-wide engagement with these assets.

Technology Roadmaps

Technical Activities continues to lead IEEE’s roadmaps activity via Societies, Councils, and the IEEE Future Directions Committee, and to work to bring visibility to the roadmapping efforts.

I am pleased with the breadth of the work that Technical Activities, through the work of many volunteers and staff across the globe, has accomplished in 2021. I am especially looking forward to how our membership and engagement efforts may evolve, including activities with Chapters, Local Groups, and Technical Communities 2.0. 

Wishing all a happy and healthy end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. It has been my pleasure to serve as your 2021 Vice President, IEEE Technical Activities, and I look forward to continuing to work with you moving forward. 

Roger U. Fujii

2021 Vice President, IEEE Technical Activities  

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