IEEE is advancing technology in nearly every country and in a multitude of fields. Yet much of these efforts would not be possible without the help of IEEE staff on the ground who work with members and volunteers, as well as with leaders in government, industry, and academia. Here’s what staffers are doing in Europe and Asia.
IEEE Europe Office, Brussels
Director of Business Development, Europe:Karine Iffour
Located near the European Parliament building and the Council of the European Commission, the IEEE Europe office opened in 2011 in what is called the “heart of Europe.” An office of one, Iffour works to inform IEEE about European government policies related to technology. She also partners with IEEE experts from industry and academia to provide technical advice to European policymakers and help ensure that, as she puts it, legislation is “technologically sound.”
Iffour counts as one of the office’s biggest successes the introduction of IEEE standards into European policies and public procurement. She also helped organize the IEEE Internet Governance summit meeting last December, bringing top IEEE leaders, well-known technologists like Vint Cerf, and policymakers to Brussels to discuss such issues as net neutrality and privacy.
Iffour believes IEEE’s achievements with standards can be attributed in part to the organization’s reputation as an unbiased source of technical information. She says even more could be accomplished if more of Region 8’s 78,000 members got involved in policymaking initiatives led by the European Union through their societies and sections.
IEEE China Office, Beijing
Director of China Operations: Frank Zhao
The office opened in 2008 with Ning Hua as the founding director, now the senior director of Asia operations, who oversees all IEEE’s offices in Asia. He is based in Beijing. Eight staff members are responsible for standards development, publishing, membership, conferences, and establishing closer ties with government leaders. Growing IEEE membership in the country has been a priority: Since the office opened, membership has increased by more than 250 percent to more than 13,000 members.
The staff also works with IEEE Spectrum to have the magazine translated into Chinese. The first Chinese edition appeared in July 2012.
And last May, the office’s China Social Media Project, which aims to increase IEEE’s social media presence in the country, was formed. IEEE’s following on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, is nearly 170,000.
This year the staff is focused on increasing the number of standards development projects and encouraging members in China to submit their articles to IEEE journals or to IEEE Access, the open-access journal. “China is moving from manufacturing to being innovation-driven,” says Zhao. He points out that many advances are taking place in clean energy and transportation. China is now the largest producer of photovoltaic power generation and a leader in high-speed trains and electric vehicles.
IEEE India Office, Bangalore
Director of India Operations: Harish Mysore
In operation since 2011, the India office has a staff of 20 that is growing. The office is unique in that it not only works on local efforts but also has an information technology team that supports IEEE’s Operations Center, in Piscataway, N.J.
The India office also works on administrative duties for the country’s IEEE sections, such as funding, regulation, and compliance matters. In addition, it has set up a payment system that allows members in the country to pay for dues and other IEEE services in local currency, the rupee. India has about 50,000 IEEE members.
Projects include ones on standards development and another with the Cloud Computing Innovation Council of India Forum on cloud implementation and policies and standards for cloud computing. The staff also helped organize the Intelect Conference and Exposition, held in January in Mumbai, which covered topics such as sustainability, smart-grid innovation, and electricity for remote regions.
Mysore sees immense opportunities for IEEE to help improve the country’s technical education programs and provide training in emerging technologies. To that end, the office is working on a training program on Wi-Fi that will affect nearly 250,000 technicians around the country. It is partnering on this with Telecom Centres of Excellence, an organization in New Delhi that focuses on growing India’s telecommunications industry.
IEEE Japan Office, Tokyo
Director of Japan Business Development:Iwao Hyakutake
The Japan office, which has been running for 26 years, has a staff of just two focused on membership development and promoting standards activities. Until 2010, it was also the office for the IEEE Computer Society, where it focused on membership growth and activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hyakutake sees one of its greatest accomplishments as the formation of the Industry Promotion Committee last year. It helps IEEE members who are working in industry, and promotes and supports the activities of young professionals and corporate researchers and engineers. The office has also organized outreach activities with the help of IEEE sections and held a seminar for local leaders to discuss IEEE standards development with the IEEE Standards Association.
The Tokyo office also translates IEEE membership materials into Japanese to make it easier for people to join. Japan currently has more than 14,000 members.
Some of the biggest technical advances coming out of Japan, according to Hyakutake [right], are in robotics and life sciences, thanks to the government’s R&D programs in those areas.
IEEE Asia-Pacific Office, Singapore
Chief Executive Officer:Fanny Su
The Singapore office, which covers the Asia-Pacific region, opened its doors in 1994 and was originally called the IEEE Asia Pacific Customer Service Centre. The office is located in the R&D and up-and-coming media hub near the National University of Singapore and a campus of Nanyang Technological University.
Its main purpose was to provide services to members and customers in Region 10, but it has since expanded to provide volunteer support services to the region’s IEEE directors and its committees as well as for volunteers of the 57 sections in the region.
In 1994, membership in Region 10 was at 30,000; today it exceeds 100,000. The staff is also partnering with international organizations, including Interpol—the international police organization based in Lyon, France—to educate high school students on how to detect dangerous online activities. Students learn how to select safe passwords and take precautions when posting personal information on social media sites. Staff are also working with ICANN, a Los Angeles nonprofit involved in network security, on Internet governance for the region. And they are organizing a conference on assistive technologies for the physically impaired with the IEEE Singapore Section, which will be held 14 to 16 October.
One of the biggest concerns in Singapore and surrounding countries is the lack of students pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. To that end, Su will be working with IEEE to develop programs that will get students excited about engineering by collaborating on projects with schools and institutions.
“Our staff has set out to make the region vibrant and active in the technology space,” Su says [center]. “I believe we have been successful and will continue to do more.”