|Article by Abbas Jamalipour|
|COVID-19 has changed our lives: the way we interact, the way we work, and the way we study. It has had devastating effects on many people all around the world, and its impact is yet to be fully appreciated.
As an IEEE society, VTS has been working hard to maintain its role as a professional body and to continue its mission in networking professionals and researchers in the areas of mobile radio, land transportation, motor vehicles, propagation, connected and automated vehicles, and related applications.
We believe in our mandate, helping as much as we can in sharing knowledge and technology through publication of high-quality journal papers and conference papers, contributions to standardization, and the training of future talents.
VTS sees the pandemic not as a hindrance to our goals, but an opportunity to innovate our normal activities towards a more efficient usage of resources, and towards the creation of a long-lasting impact on society, research, and professional community.
IEEE VTC2020-Spring, our flagship conference, was run in a virtual mode with great success and overwhelming participation by authors and non-authors from many different time zones. I would like to thank all registrants who attended VTC2020-Spring from the comfort of their homes and offices.
VTS arranged a reduced cost of attendance for the conference, and provided the best possible environment for networking, and research and technology dissemination.
For years, many conference authors had serious problems in obtaining visas. Some also had major financial hardship in travelling to the conference city and staying there during the conference. The overall cost of a conference paper presentation at times may have prevented many authors from submitting their papers to conferences.
This time we were able to avoid these barriers, and many authors were able present their papers at the conference virtually, allowing their papers to be published in IEEE Xplore® when they may not have otherwise.
In spite of this positive result, I cannot ignore our missed opportunity to meet our friends and colleagues in person, not only to have nice chats, but to benefit from each other’s experiences and expand our own knowledgebase and relationships.
The current situation has forced us to think of and explore new or alternative ways to communicate and connect. We may learn a good lesson on having more online events or hybrid physical-virtual conferences in future.
VTS is following the same path in other areas as well. Our well-recognized Distinguished Lecturer program now has had some lectures streamed online, viewable not only for local chapter members, but also for our international VTS community.The VTS Board of Governors and I will continue to monitor the situation and make necessary changes to member services that are affected by the outbreak. At the same time, we will put our energy in introducing new services that may substitute regular member services.
We will try our best to reduce this unprecedented situation’s impact on educational and training activities for our members in academia, government, and industry. Together, I am sure we can pass this difficult time and come out from it with greater experience and innovation. I encourage all members to please stay strong, safe, and positive.
I am always available to you for any questions, suggestions, ideas, or comments on how VTS can better serve our membership. You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.