Progress has been made in implementing some of the top five recommendations for improving IEEE operations suggested at the 2014 IEEE Sections Congress. The Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) board is responsible for addressing the recommendations made by the volunteers who attended.
Recommendation 1: Include free access to the IEEE Xplore Digital Library as a member benefit. Promote other IEEE services and products based on their usage and preferences (adopt Google business model).
Status: To be provided soon.
Recommendation 2: Develop an incentive and recognition program for companies that invest in full or partial support of their employees’ IEEE membership dues.
Status: A pilot program was implemented in November 2015 with Hong Kong Telecom. Employees were offered a US $20 discount on their annual membership fee plus one free IEEE society membership; both new and current members were eligible. Hong Kong Telecom subsidized the discount, which was good for three years.
As a result of the program, more than 1,620 new members joined IEEE for the 2016 membership year. The volunteering and professional development opportunities, as well as other benefits that IEEE membership provides, also increased employees’ satisfaction with Hong Kong Telecom.
Recommendation 3: Introduce loyalty rewards such as publication access, conference fees, and standards for continued membership.
Status: MGA in 2015 reviewed financial models for various loyalty programs and rewards. It found that the cost of investing in rewards that would be valuable to members and implementing a system to manage the rewards would be $100,000 to $400,000. The research also showed that loyalty programs are effective and provide return on investment for businesses with steep competition—when it’s easy to switch to a competitor—but not successful for professional associations such as IEEE, according to the MGA member engagement and life cycle committee.
Therefore, in November 2015, the MGA board decided not to move forward with this recommendation.
Recommendation 4: Provide a tool to build, promote, record, host, and broadcast technical events at the local level and make them available to IEEE members.
Status: The MGA information technology coordination and oversight committee formed a task force to work on this recommendation. After extensive research, the task force selected several tools to address the different broadcasting and recording needs, requirements, and restrictions for local and worldwide events. Local IEEE sections can now pick a tool that best suits them.
The committee also created an event broadcast and recording portfolio, available on the vTools website (vTools is short for volunteer tools). All recorded events can be uploaded and hosted on IEEE.tv, which offers a series of videos produced by volunteers.
Recommendation 5: Enhance vTools for better usability by volunteers and provide a training program to IEEE sections.
Status: Each vTool application is being reviewed by MGA and will be redesigned if necessary. In addition, the vTools website is being revamped. Training on how to use the programs was presented at every IEEE region committee meeting held last year. For more information, see the vTools status report.
Registration is now open for this year’s IEEE Sections Congress, to be held from 11 to 13 August in Sydney.