A Message from the 2023 Technical Activities Vice President

A Message from the 2023 Technical Activities Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

We have reached the end of the year, a good time to reflect on what we accomplished and look forward to what comes next.

Our strategic priorities for 2023 include participation in the IEEE-wide efforts in Climate Change and Sustainable Technologies, imagining future products and services and new audiences, providing value to and growing existing audiences, and building on our diverse and inclusive community including implementation of the new IEEE Fellows process. We also take a look at exemplars for leveraging cross-cutting technology areas via collaboration among TA entities, increasingly important for addressing the technology grand challenge problems of our time. Lastly, we will take a look at the TA Tech Talk series.

Climate Change Technologies

This IEEE-wide grand challenge effort has achieved implementation across the Institute, with efforts leveraging all the strengths of the IEEE. For Technical Activities (TA), we look to our strengths in content creation realized through convening world-class conferences and meetings, curating and disseminating information through top publications, and aligning with the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee to Coordinate IEEE’s Response to Climate Change (CCIRCC) TA has responded with a core TA Program in Climate Change, supported by the Future Directions Committee convening of a virtual meeting covering the broad prospectus of IEEE capabilities in climate change technologies. We have created a steering committee to determine a sustainable path forward for the TA Climate Change efforts, which is examining options including continuing as a TA Program as well as forming a Technical Community 2.0 to build a community in the space that can create and cosponsor conferences and publications capable of generating resources to support its mission activities including outreach and engagement of the general public, media, and policymakers, as well as industry practitioners and the R&D community from academia, industry, and government. The efforts to seed activity this year will continue to bear fruit in the form of robust activity going forward, and we look forward to the next chapter in this story.

New Products and Services

At the start of 2023, TA took over the 2022 Board of Directors activity in Data-based business strategy to seek a way to valorize the massive IEEE data holdings in the engineering and technology space. That activity has resulted in key new product concepts.

AskIEEE is a technology encyclopedia in your pocket, with user profiles tailored to user contexts ranging from K12 students and educators to the general public, to college students, media and policymakers, and investors, practicing engineers, and researchers. AskIEEE can provide encyclopedic information appropriate for the context of the user and add value through cross-reference to relevant products, services, and events. For example, in a query about 4G versus 5G technologies, the K12 student and general public might receive information on basic differences in capability in terms of range, speed, and latency. The media or policy maker might additionally receive contact information for IEEE experts willing to be interviewed or testify to a parliamentary body. Practicing engineers might receive links to standards and specifications, while researchers might be connected to research articles on the topic. Queries in each category might also produce information on experience-appropriate educational materials and information on upcoming nearby meetings, workshops, and other events related to the topic. An AskIEEE prototype was demonstrated recently at Sections Congress. Development continues as the engine is trained against additional information.

Efforts continue to valorize the vast amounts of technology data produced and curated by IEEE, as well as the usage of data to understand emerging technology trends continues. Beneficiaries of such a product could include venture capitalists, Wall Street investors, chief technology officers, and many more. The goal is to improve the efficiency of the use of capital in advancing technology, clearly symmetric with the IEEE mission of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Incorporating fast-breaking technology insights delivered through more than 2,000 IEEE conferences is a real challenge and will require the support of TA’s 47 Societies and Councils to achieve. This tool will also benefit IEEE in spotting emerging trends early, enabling us to build early support for nascent technical communities to bring them into the IEEE family.

Inclusion and Diversity

TA continues to focus on inclusion and diversity, integrating the multi-dimensional concept throughout operations. The TAB Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) is currently conducting a climate survey of TAB which will provide valuable information on the current state and help set baseline metrics against which to measure progress. The CDI Award Subcommittee (chaired by Prof Elza Erkip) met to complete their evaluation of the eight nominations that were submitted this year. We are looking forward to the presentation of the Award at the November 2023 IEEE Technical Activities Board meeting in Washington, D.C. We would like to challenge Societies and Councils to work with the TAB CDI and the IEEE WIE to come up with ways to recognize achievements in diversity and inclusion in their events and activities.

IEEE Fellows Process

Implementation of the new IEEE Fellows process is in progress this year. While the resulting changes challenged deadlines for getting all the components in place, the benefits should outweigh the initial pain of making the change. Society and Council Fellows evaluators will have more input into the program, which was very important, especially for smaller fields of interest. We also have new categories which clarify the many different metrics that support elevation to Fellow status, as well as a more deliberate effort to build nominee pools beyond individual networks to ensure many diversity dimensions are considered that may be underrepresented in nomination networks, including geographic, career path and role, and gender. Now that much of the transition is complete, we anticipate next year will be easier, as we also see the benefits reflected in the next Fellows class.

Society and Council Partnership

I have had the opportunity throughout the year to attend the Administrative Committee (AdCom) or Board of Governors (BoG) meetings of several Societies and Councils. In particular, we discussed the Technical Activities strategy to better support our community and beyond with the latest technology information delivered through events, publications, and other products and services, with more planned for the months ahead. For me, it is a great opportunity to learn more about the myriad fields of interest within TA while sharing strategic opportunities with our top leaders.

Notable outcomes of which we are particularly proud include the 25th anniversary of the Sensors Council, which has achieved an amazing level of collaboration with 26 Societies. We are pleased to see that the Transportation Electrification Technical Community, officially becomes the Transportation Electrification Council (TEC) in 2024 with a seat on TAB. TEC will sign an MOU at the November OU series to share IP with the Industry Applications Society, Power and Energy Society, and Power Electronics Society. TEC has 18 society partners. Given the cross-cutting nature of many technology grand challenges, this level of partnership is an excellent demonstration of the impact of IEEE’s technology prowess.

TA Tech Talk

We hosted technology and innovation expert Mark Moran of John Deere at the Chicago Operating Unit (OU) series in June for the inaugural TA Tech Talk, with great audience engagement, login with your IEEE credentials to access the recording. The next TA Tech Talk will take place at the November OU series and will feature semiconductor expert Falan Yinug, Director of Economic Strategy at Qualcomm. Falan was previously Director of Industry Statistics and Economic Policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association. We anticipate a lively discussion!

For more details, please see the Fellows website at ieee.org/membership/fellows.


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