December 2020 OES Beacon

VPTA Column (December 2020)

Malcolm Heron, OES Vice President for Technical Activities

The season for renewing OES/IEEE membership is nearly finished (but you can still do it – there is a closing date of 15 December just so that membership lists, etc., can be made for the new year); welcome back if you have renewed already.  If you are a new member, then I send you a special welcome. However, you probably will not receive the printed issue of the December Beacon until 2021, although it will be on the OES website electronically in December.  This year renewing and new members have been offered membership of the Technology Committees for the first time as a part of IEEE’s subscription system. You will receive an email from IEEE within 24 hours to invite you to select free membership of one or more TCs that are listed as “products” in the IEEE Memberships and Subscriptions Catalog under Technical Committees (If this link does not work, please copy and paste it into your browser).  The feedback on this new process is that some renewing members did not receive their email.  IEEE HQ assures us that the emails were sent, so it appears that we have a problem penetrated the filters and firewalls on people’s inboxes.  So, if you did not see the invitation to join an OES Technology Committee, then please look in your spam box, or simply follow the link given above.

The process of renewing the Technology Committees is now fairly complete with AdCom approving a procedure for establishing a new TC; and for disestablishment.  In simple terms, establishment of a new TC requires a petition by at least six OES members, and a scope, etc., that is acceptable to existing TC Chairs.  One embryonic TC is Signal Processing, and anyone interested in that should respond to as soon as you can.  The AdCom has also approved the re-structuring of Standards with the work of the Standards Technology Committee being moved to the Standards Standing Committee.  This seems trivial, but it raises the profile of Standards because the Standing Committee is linked into the IEEE Standards Association.  The Standards Standing Committee will be led by Christoph Waldmann who has an article on standards and sustainability elsewhere in this issue of the Beacon.

One remaining loose end for the OES Technology Committees arises from the need to address issues and projects like Plastics in the Ocean or Global Warming.  The TCs are deliberately based on technologies, and this gives OES a strong point of differentiation from other ocean science societies.  The challenge remains on how to coordinate the Technology Committees to apply their technology expertise to specific projects.  This is a challenge to OES Technical Activities over the next couple of years.