Harnessing the Expertise of IEEE Members

IEEE members discuss sustainable energy, smart-grid technology, and more with members of the press

7 July 2009

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How can technology guide us out of the global recession? What technology innovations could lead to more jobs for engineers? These are some of the pressing issues that IEEE members who are recognized as thought leaders in their respective fields are prepared to discuss during upcoming interviews with the media. IEEE is arranging these interviews as part of its Public Visibility Initiative, a communications program that seeks to raise
IEEE’s global visibility and improve the image of the engineering, computing and technology professions.

“IEEE should comment on topics it owns, should own, or is perceived to own, such as energy, sustainability, health care technology, the smart grid, information security, and engineering education,” says Howard E. Michel, 2009 chair of the Public Visibility Ad Hoc Committee. “Our goal is to position IEEE as a thought leader and commentator on prominent issues around the globe.”

SPECIAL FORUMS One way of putting the spotlight on the experts is through a series of forums and roundtables with members of the media. Each serves as a showcase for the experts to discuss, for example, innovations that could lead to new industries and ultimately new jobs for engineers, as well as ideas that might help countries recover from the economic downturn. One such event is Fortune magazine’s annual Brainstorm Tech, to be held from 22 to 24 July in Pasadena, Calif. Leading icons of the digital world will gather at this invitation-only conference to look at the future of business, particularly how emerging technologies and tech entrepreneurs are solving problems and creating opportunities. They recognize that the success of their companies depends on understanding the trends at the core of technology innovation.

As Fortune’s program partner, IEEE has helped develop the content for this forum. About a dozen IEEE members are scheduled to attend and/or participate. The agenda focuses on how technology companies, content creators, and other groups can thrive in the recession and ultimately lead the way to prosperity. IEEE Fellow Saifur Rahman, vice president for new initiatives and outreach for the IEEE Power & Energy Society, is chairing a panel on, “Smart Grid: Making It a Reality.” Inventor, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil and IEEE Spectrum Editor Susan Hassler will discuss with Fortune’s Senior Editor David Kirkpatrick how fast and furiously technology is changing the future. Kurzweil is a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. Other speakers include IEEE Fellow Charles Elachi, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whose topic is “Space: Live Long and Prosper.” In addition, a select group of CIO’s, CTO’s and technology leaders of the digital world called the Fortune InfoTech 40, will convene for a high-level strategy session to share their perspectives on the best ways to deploy technology in these economically challenging times. IEEE Executive Director Jim Prendergast and 2007 IEEE President Leah Jamieson have been named to this group.

ROUNDTABLES Public Visibility venues also include Innovation Roundtables, events that explore hot topics such as sustainable energy, health care, and security. The first is scheduled to take place at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society’s annual conference in Minneapolis, from 2 to 6 September. Members of the media have been invited to talk with technical experts from major medical device makers and others throughout the health care industry on subjects such as interoperability, standards, the brain-computer interface, and neuroengineering.

Other roundtables are being planned with media groups in different geographic areas, including India, with the aim of positioning IEEE as a trusted voice around the globe for engineering, computing, and technology information.