Message from the President: The State of VTS in 2020

7 January, 2021 | Breaking News, Member Updates
Article By: Abbas Jamalipour
While I write this message for the last month of year 2020, we are still waiting for a solution to the global pandemic, already several months after it was started. I hope everyone around the world will have a better year in 2021.

This year was indeed one of the most challenging years for all of us. Moving from face-to-face meetings into virtual and digital meetings aided the continuation of technical and social interactions to some degree, but it could not completely substitute the way we used to work and live. We missed negotiations and networking opportunities that usually take us to a better stage both in social term and in advancement of the knowledge.

IEEE Vehicular Technology Society made every effort to be with its membership at all times during the pandemic and help them as much as possible to pass this difficult time as best as we could. Our sponsored publications provided venues for researchers to publish their results in shortest possible time, thanks to the hard work of our editors and reviewers.

Our main sponsored conferences, the Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC) in Spring and Fall, as well as other events including Connected and Automated Vehicles Symposium (CAVS), and Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC) went to a fully virtual mode. Others required postponement, including IEEE Wireless Africa and the Joint Rail Conference. We are proud that most of our events continued despite the current hardships; the lack of in-person communications and demonstration of projects and industry exhibitions was noticeable, but unavoidable.

Similarly, two of the three VTS Board of Governors (BoG) meetings had to be changed from in-person to a virtual form. With the large time difference between participants, we held the meeting over multiple days, with shorter periods each day.

During each BoG meeting, VTS officers discuss important matters related to the society activities in publications, conferences, member developments, finance, standards, and so on. In particular, this year saw the completion of two IEEE reviews, for the Society as a whole, and for its publications.

The SCRC (Society/Council Review Committee) report is prepared by IEEE Societies and Councils, and is required by IEEE every five years. This year was our turn. This long and comprehensive report was prepared over five months, and submitted to the SCRC panel in October 2020. We also attended an interview to explain the contents of the report in early November 2020. We will have the final comments and report in the next IEEE Meeting Series to be held in February 2021.

So far, the review has indicated that the VTS has been doing well in all areas including budget, publications, conferences, and membership, with some great new initiatives. In five years we have doubled the number of our local chapters around the world, bringing VTS closer to you than ever before. Our budget is in good shape; our conferences continue to be well-attended and useful, and our publications—including the Transactions on Vehicular Technology and the Vehicular Technology Magazine—continue to increase their impact factors.

In June 2020, we also had to go to another set of reviews, this time for the Society publications. PRAC, the IEEE Periodicals Review and Advisory Committee, reviewed our reports on the IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, and the Vehicular Technology Magazine, as well a co-sponsored publication, the IEEE Communications Standards Magazine. We are proud to say that our publications have performed extremely well over the past five years.

On a related topic, I am delighted to note that our newest journal, the IEEE Open Journal of Vehicular Technology, has had a great start thanks to the dedication of Editor-in-Chief Sumei Sun, and her experienced team of editors, reviewers and of course, the authors. And soon VTS will have a separate section within the IEEE Access Journal where all researchers in the field can submit their open access papers directly.

Another important thing that happens each year at the last BoG meeting, is the officer elections. Highlighting from that, I would like to mention that starting in 2021, VTS will have a new position, Vice President—Standards, whose inaugural candidate will be Oliver Holland. Oliver brings many years of experiences from industry and academia from his career in European and North American locations. I believe he would greatly improve VTS standards activities.

VTS has been one of the most active IEEE societies in standards development, with a large number of projects related to high-speed and electric railways, electric vehicles, connected and automated vehicles, and of course in radio propagation and wireless communications such as in IEEE 802.15.4p. The current active VTS Standards Committee will be under the purview of the new VP—Standards, and the area will benefit from additional resources as the BoG has earmarked. The full Society officers list will be published in VTS Mobile World in January 2021.

As always, I am available to you for any questions, suggestions, ideas, or comments on how VTS can better serve our membership. You can contact me directly at a.jamalipour@ieee.org. I wish you all an enjoyable festive season and thank you for all your support over the past year. Stay safe!

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