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For a Stronger and More Inclusive ComSoc

Robert Schober election

Robert Schober

President

2024-2025

It is a great privilege and honor for me to serve as President of the IEEE Communication Society (ComSoc) for the years of 2024 and 2025. The tireless efforts of our past presidents, volunteer leaders, members, and supporting staff have made ComSoc the leading global organization for communications and networking professionals. I would particularly like to thank my predecessor, Professor Sherman Shen, and his team for their excellent work, which has led ComSoc to new heights. In fact, ComSoc has been at the forefront of technological development for over 70 years, and serves the community through high-quality publications, premier conferences, technology standards, educational and technical activities, and membership development. To continue this promising path, ComSoc must constantly evolve, pioneer new communication and networking technologies, and adjust to the ever-changing geopolitical and economic environment. With this in mind, together with the entire ComSoc leadership team, I will work hard in the next two years to further strengthen ComSoc’s position and to further improve the services provided to our members. To this end, we have set the following goals:

  • Enhance accountability, transparency, and integrity across all ComSoc’s activities and programs.
  • Increase tangible member benefits, ensure supportive environment for members, and recognize their achievements.
  • Provide volunteering and corresponding mentorship opportunities, especially for junior members, to benefit their career progression and professional development.
  • Actively promote emerging technologies, provide corresponding platforms, and seek participation from all stakeholders.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion in all our activities and in our leadership and volunteer positions.
  • Promote industry participation in all technical activities (e.g., conferences, publications, and standards) and at all organizational levels (e.g., BoG, committees, and local chapters).
  • Further improve the quality of our periodicals, conferences, and online content.
  • Develop cost effective strategies to improve ComSoc financial performance and reduce service cost to our members, while increasing service quality.
  • Further enhance ComSoc’s leading role in communication and networking and strengthen its position within IEEE.
  • Promote collegiality and efficient workflows among volunteers and staff.

To achieve these overarching goals, we will implement corresponding specific measures in each of our four ComSoc pillars: Member and Global Activities (led by Vice President Ana Garcia Armada), Conferences (led by Vice President Chengshan Xiao), Publications (led by Vice President Octavia A. Dobre), and Technical and Educational Activities (led by Vice President Wei Zhang).

Member and Global Activities: At the end of 2023, ComSoc membership has exceeded 33,000, which corresponds to a more than 12 percent increase compared to 2022. To sustain this promising development, we will continue to carry out membership satisfaction surveys and leverage the data obtained to further improve our services and the value of belonging to ComSoc. Furthermore, we plan to design specific measures to attract more members from underrepresented groups, including women, industry, young professionals, and some geographic regions. We will also further empower our more than 220 chapters and student branch chapters by providing funding and support for the creation of new activities. With these and other measures we expect to further increase ComSoc membership and improve our retention rates.

Conferences: Over the past two years, our conferences have fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and are once again the place to meet old friends and to make new ones. ComSoc organizes more than 30 conferences and is a technical co-sponsor for about 40 more. In the next two years, we plan to develop new opportunities and value propositions for the participation of industry members in our conferences. Furthermore, we aspire to gain a better understanding of the needs of different geographical regions with the objective to further strengthen and potentially expand our regional conferences. Finally, to preserve the integrity of our conferences, we will establish a ComSoc committee that investigates suspected cases of author and editorial misconduct.

Publications: The 21 journals and 5 magazines sponsored or co-sponsored by ComSoc are widely recognized for their rigorous review process and high quality. Furthermore, our online content has emerged as a new valuable source of knowledge for our members. Nevertheless, we strive to further improve our publications in terms of quality and accessibility. In particular, it is our objective to enhance the diversity (including gender, geographical region, seniority, and sector) of our editorial boards. We aim to attract more early-career professionals and industry colleagues as reviewers and editors. To ensure a high-quality review process, we will provide proper training for all newly recruited editors.

Technical and Educational Activities: We are currently in the process of finalizing our new technical committee (TC) structure. In the next two years, we will provide funding to the newly established TCs for starting new activities via the TC Innovation Project. Furthermore, we will incubate and nourish new Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Technical Working Groups (TWGs) to integrate newly emerging technologies into ComSoc’s portfolio. Moreover, we plan to develop, jointly with local institutions and student branches, a Young Professionals Training and Student Education Program to enhance the value of ComSoc membership for these groups. Another important measure is the provision of additional opportunities and mechanisms for industry to contribute to technical activities and standardization activities.

Together with the entire leadership team, I am looking forward to working closely with all of you to further improve the benefits offered by ComSoc to its members and to serve our community even better. Thank you for your support and trust! Please do not hesitate to contact me or any members of the ComSoc Board of Governors or Standing Committees with your ideas, comments, and suggestions.

I wish all of you a prosperous, healthy, and peaceful New Year 2024!

ComSoc Vice Presidents

Ana Garcia Armada

Ana Garcia Armada

Vice President, Member and Global Activities

Chengshan Xiao

Chengshan Xiao

Vice President, Conferences

Octavia Dobre

Octavia A. Dobre

Vice President, Publications

Wei Zhang

Wei Zhang

Vice President, Technical and Educational Activities