In the last quarter of this year, IEEE Technical Activities continued to focus attention and efforts on nurturing our technical communities, providing new and diverse educational opportunities, widening our support to all segments of the community, and planning for more engagement in the coming year.
IEEE Technical Activities has continued to support emerging technologies, addressing areas of increasing interest in the scientific and industrial community, specifically on Big Data, Brain, Cybersecurity, Digital Senses, Green ICT, Rebooting Computing, Smart Materials, and Software Defined Networks. Two initiatives, Smart Cities and Internet of Things, reached maturity after following through a full life cycle within Future Directions and will transition to graduated initiatives in January 2017. Additionally, each Society and Technical Council is continuously developing new topics which are specifically in its respective area of interest, e.g., like G5 technologies for advanced communications, intelligent vehicles and transportations, smart environments, advanced micro-grids, and many more.
We have also increasingly devoted attention to the technical needs of underserved segments of our technical communities, especially young professionals, industry professionals, women and under-represented groups, and entrepreneurs. These segments need specialized technical content and curated knowledge, as well as specific networking opportunities, and we have been working hard to develop them. This year, the formation of the TAB Ad-Hoc on Women and Under-represented Groups allowed IEEE Technical Activities to focus on developing strategies to increase engagement of women and under-represented groups in IEEE Societies and Councils, and to increase representation across the Technical Activities Board and the greater IEEE.
We’ve also focused on delivering education to underserved segments by establishing the TAB Ad-Hoc Committee on Africa, with the goal of making lasting connections on the ground, and empowering instructors through a “teach the teachers” mechanism. The Ad-Hoc partnered with the IEEE PES PowerAfrica conference in Zambia to deliver an entrepreneurship tutorial by the Chairs of the IEEE entrepreneurship committee, and additional courses on Solar Energy and LED Engineering are planned for Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. The Ad-Hoc plans to work with the IEEE Ad-Hoc Committee on Africa Activities to expand the existing visitor lecture and entrepreneurial tutorial programs, marking this endeavor as a true collaborative IEEE effort. In addition, the TAB Ad-Hoc Committee on Education has explored leveraging new distance learning technologies to deliver critical engineering thinking modules to African communities, forging partnerships with the University of Rwanda and other African universities through Carnegie Mellon University Africa in Rwanda.
Expanding services to enhance the IEEE experience for all of our members and technical communities has been the special focus of this year, and will be our legacy for a vibrant flourishing future. The technical activities of the community are what really contribute to making a difference in the world. To improve the experience for our members, and attract an even greater pool of engineers globally, the TAB Ad-Hoc on Membership investigated Society membership models and explored how to improve the effectiveness of IEEE Chapters. By proposing to develop a more structured engagement pipeline, recommending ways to tackle geographic challenges and volunteer leadership resources, and allowing more individuals to sample what IEEE Societies and Councils, the Ad-Hoc has introduced ways to leverage IEEE Technical Activities’ many benefits to engage new members and continue to satisfy existing ones.
Volunteers and staff in IEEE Technical Activities are doing a terrific job of expanding opportunities, events, services, and supporting our global technical communities, as well as our local roots in Chapters. Please visit the websites of your preferred Societies and Technical Councils to learn more, and contact us if you have suggestions on how we can better address the globally and demographically diverse IEEE community.
José M.F. Moura
2016 IEEE Technical Activities Vice President