Highlights of Our Achievements in 2022
Dear ComSoc Members and Colleagues,
As we are welcoming 2023, we can reflect and celebrate the accomplishments that positioned ComSoc to not only grow but thrive in 2022. With significant investments in our membership, industry connections, conferences, publications, technical activities, and training and education, 2022 was a testament to the fact that sound investments create stronger community connections and set the stage for a better future.
The stage must be set with a commitment to the community and all its potential participants and contributors. In 2022, the ComSoc Board of Governors made a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our strategic plan, ensuring that all underserved voices are seen and heard. From efforts to celebrate our women engineers to inclusion of students and younger voices in our committee work, we are deeply committed to progress, awareness, and a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive community.
Students and young professionals were our starting point in 2022, as their ideas, learning opportunities, and leadership potential shine light on the bright future ahead. In April, we held our very first Student Tech Leadership Conference (CSTLC, sponsored by Intel, AMD, and T-Mobile) in Austin, Texas, bringing together students from 12 universities in four countries. With approximately 100 attendees, personalized discussions between students and industry professionals were commonplace. The most remarkable outcome was the feedback from students on how ComSoc allowed them to make industry connections and hone their leadership skills. Coming off this success, in June, our virtual School Series Kuala Lumpur engaged over 170 students from 38 countries, with a fun final day featuring a virtual “Hands-on Session Introduction to Pytorch for Deep Learning.” In addition, three “Try Engineering” webinars that ComSoc sponsored made registration records, boasting the highest registration in the series’ history!
The success in reaching younger audiences continued with ComSoc’s Pre-University STEM Education programs, including an event for 180 high school students held during the Internet Festival in Pisa, Italy. ComSoc Student Competition submissions grew by 34 percent, and in one of our most important strategic moves, ComSoc partnered with Eta Kappa Nu (HKN — engineering honor society) to boost our student recruitment efforts. These focused efforts to bring students into our community have yielded incredible results, as ComSoc student membership is up by 14 percent!
Our investments in the Young Professionals (YP) program have also had tremendous success! With impressive programs at our International Communications Conference (ICC), the Communication Standards and Networking Conference (CSCN), and the Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM), our YPs have showcased how their contributions can transform our organization’s future. Most recently, we had 150 people at our Networking with the Leaders event at GLOBECOM, where YPs mixed and mingled with our ComSoc and industry leaders. We applaud our YP leaders; they have developed programs to support and raise awareness of this critical audience within ComSoc and within the community’s talent pipeline.
Our Women in Communications Engineering cohort (WICE) had a remarkable year, with a 24 percent increase in membership. WICE programs at ICC and GLOBECOM focused on key skills for career advancement, and WICE’s promotional team created strong social media campaigns, inviting more and more people into the community. In 2023, we will bring a new WICE video series to celebrate the outstanding technical achievements of our female engineers, and a mentoring program developed in conjunction with the YP Committee.
ComSoc’s MGA-Council and Members Services Board took time to invest in guiding and training our front-line leaders — our Chapter Chairs. The goal was to provide tools for advocacy and empowerment. As a result, 2022 became the “Year of the Chapter!” After months of surveys, feedback sessions, and training opportunities with our Chapter leaders, we were proud to launch our 2023 Chapter Chairs Community initiative in December. The program kicked off with the first Global Chapter Chairs Congress in 21 years. Fifty-one chapter chairs from 32 countries came together for two days of in-person learning. In 17 volunteer and staff-led sessions, attendees learned about training opportunities and retention and recruitment best practices. In 2023, we will continue this initiative with a dedicated communication channel among Chapter leaders, schedule monthly webinars for training and conversation, and a “Sister Chapter” program in which we pair Chapter leaders around the world to collaborate and learn from one another. This program, coupled with the 150+ Distinguished Lectures held by our Chapters and our Sister Society agreements with countless international partner organizations, ensures that our growth will continue in 2023.
Industry engagement is also at the forefront of our work, as ComSoc is rife with opportunities to intensify industry participation in our diverse technical activities, standards, and practices. One of our key accomplishments in 2022 was the development and launch of a pilot ComSoc Corporate Program. It aims to enhance our relationships with key partners based on the investments they have already made with ComSoc. The pilot program proved incredibly successful with Qualcomm, Huawei, and Nokia Bell Labs. We are very happy to report that all three organizations are promoting ComSoc membership among their employees, growing a critical part of our community.
Communities are about connection, and our in-person conferences came back strong, with a hybrid component as an option in many conferences. Our first real success was in April, where the IEEE Wireless Networking and Communication Conference (WCNC) brought more than 800 people together in Austin, Texas, and another 600+ online. Tremendous industry support came from 11 patrons and another nine sponsors and supporters! In May, Seoul, Korea hosted our successful hybrid 2022 flagship conference, IEEE ICC. With nearly 2500 paper submissions, more than 2500 people registered for the conference, and approximately 750 attended in person. The conference featured eight keynotes and a strong industry program. In addition to our traditional program, we launched several new initiatives, including special workshops, special best paper technical sessions, E-Poster Q&A sessions, a demo competition with live Q&A sessions, and live online Q&A sessions. The IEEE Military Communications Conference (MILCOM) was held November 28–30 in Rockville, Maryland, and drew 920 registrants. The conference highlight was the keynote address by U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Research and Engineering, Heidi Shyu.
We celebrated the 70 years of ComSoc history at the 2022 IEEE GLOBECOM in Rio de Janeiro (an electric venue during the World Cup!), Brazil. We had over 700 attendees onsite from 54 countries and another 1000 joining us virtually. The conference featured 18 workshops, 32 tutorials, and three technical symposia. GLOBECOM was a perfect location to launch our web-based Interactive Guide to Communication History and archival footage and interviews in our booth, giving all a virtual walk back into our 70-year history.
Beyond in-person engagement, the incredible research outcomes and content that our community published warrant a celebration. Impact Factors for 17 of our journals and magazines increased over 2021, with IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials having the highest one (39.97)! IEEE Communications Magazine saw a sharp increase in submissions. In September, we were the lead sponsor (with IEEE CS Society, SP Society, and VTS Society) in launching a new Open Access journal, IEEE Transactions on Machine Learning in Communications and Networking. Finally, we welcomed a new, diverse roster of impressive Editors-in-Chief and realized many operational efficiencies that helped us work smarter.
Learning from within our community goes beyond conferences and publications. ComSoc is known for its exceptional training and educational opportunities, and 2022 was no exception. With investments by our Educational Services Board, we introduced several new courses, including “Introduction to Deep Learning for the Physical Layer,” which broke records with the highest registration number among all courses in the history of ComSoc training. We also debuted “Introduction to Quantum Communications,” a highly successful course with 86 participants. The new course “O-RAN: Disrupting the Radio Access Network through Openness and Innovation” was a hit in July, with an excellent registration number and high satisfaction ratings.
Finally, our Technical and Educational Activities Council collaborated across IEEE, ensuring that ComSoc is on the forefront of all technical developments. Our active engagement in the IoT, Smart Cities, Sustainable ICT, and Future Networks Initiatives, and the RFID, Nanotechnology, Systems, Sensors, and Superconductivity Councils maximizes opportunities for ComSoc’s role in the future of technology development. Further, we have made significant efforts to develop a new Technical Committee (TC) structure and reorganized TCs to better serve our members. Our TC Newsletter also provides TC activities and brief research advances in emerging technologies. It has been truly gratifying to watch our community and membership numbers grow as we endeavor to address the professional needs of our community. We wish to extend our gratitude to everyone who has invested their time and contributed to making 2022 such a successful year for ComSoc, from our dedicated staff to our selfless leaders and volunteers, to the members who rely on us to be their go-to professional resource. We look forward to 2023 and even more great things to come!