IEEE Bangalore ComSoc Chapter: Winner of the 2020 Chapter Achievement Award, APAC Region

By Aloknath De - 2020/2021 Chair of the Bangalore Chapter, India

Who does not want to start a new year with hope and ambition? In this year’s first meeting, someone asked me: as Chair for 2020, what has been my sense of the prior year? My response was: A sense of resilience, a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of gratitude.

I am very pleased to report that our Communications Society in the IEEE Bangalore Section has been quite eventful in 2020. When we realized that we would be in lockdown for awhile, we quickly transitioned to an online mode for all of of our activities. Though Covid-19 disrupted some of our planned activities, we leveraged the virtual forums and video conferencing platforms to a large extent.

Worldwide, we see a growth in deployment of 5G networks and a proliferation of 5G devices. Therefore, it has been quite natural for the Communication Society to conduct a series of workshops on “Technologies in and Around 5G”: New Radio (NR), Multiple-Access, IoT Machine Communication, Edge Computing et al. We also delved into the intricacies of “AI/ML in 5G Networks” through an intensive workshop. Our Society leaders also participated as keynote speakers and panelists in other IEEE forums and state Chapter events.

Chapter Chair Dr. Alok addressing the IEEE Bangalore Section Members on AGM Day in Jan. 2021.

We were scheduled to have the IEEE 5G World Forum hosted in Bangalore in Sept. 2020. Though it turned out to be an online program for obvious reasons, our members played critical roles in steering the forum, from technical sessions to practical demos.

During this global as well as part of Chapter activities, we organized many deep-tech sessions pertaining to Cloud-Native Computing, Software-Defined Networking, Network Function Virtualization and Hyper-connected Networks.

Bangalore is a hub of multinational centers, Indian companies as well as enterprising startups. Samsung, Nokia, Cisco, Wipro, Reliance Jio and other industry leaders have come forward to contribute to a multitude of workshops. Their enthusiasm was matched by startups like Saankhya Labs, Radisys, and MMRFIC. Beyond 5G, another half-a-dozen webinars covered other facets of advanced communication, including Wifi 6.0 and beyond, Blockchain in Communication Systems, and Quantum Communication with Error-Correction Code, to name a few.

The Chapter has also been abuzz with student activities. Our student branches now have grown to nine, with two SBCs joining in the year, thanks to the Manipal Institute of Technology and Reva University. Among India’s 20 Institutes of Eminence (IoE), three are associated with our Chapter: IISc, MIT and Amrita University. Our student branches have organized week-long seminar ensembles, each evening hosted by a member college. 

The GraTe-7 program had a seven-minute presentation for master and doctoral theses; this year we conducted jointly with the Kerala and Hyderabad sections. We also organized the second edition of our Ph.D. Ethically Driven Innovation and Technology for Society (EDITS) program. This has been a good success story with 20+ industry experts spending part of the weekend mentoring approximately 30 Ph.D. students.

For young professionals, our Research Methodology workshops toward Quality Publications have always been very sought after. But in 2020, I led two new initiatives on inhouse and open innovation. The first one was on ‘How to Write Your First Patent’, where Samsung patent engineers presented step-by-step training. The second workshop was built around ‘What Does it Take to Participate in Open Source’. With a large attendance during the program and a few thousand subsequent youtube views, we received a mental boost to continue similar programs in 2021.

Execom members’/volunteers’ valuable knowledge and indomitable spirit have helped us grow our membership base in 2020 by 35 percent over last year, now totalling 485 members. Internally, we have enhanced many processes and enriched our presence in social media through a website, LinkedIn and Youtube channels. The majority of our webinars are subsequently available in these social media.

Regular execom meetings and members’ active participation have helped significantly in paving new avenues for continuous learning and knowledge dissemination. We are very thankful to the Bangalore Section for recognizing with the Best Chapter (large) award. It has been an honor for us to receive the Best ComSoc Chapter CAA award for the Asia-Pacific region two years in succession.

Our society is blessed to have a rich representation of Industry, Startup and Academia. Our members have been inducted in IEEE Standards Association Governing Council, Indian standard body TSDSI GC, OCF association Chair for IoT Interoperability and so on. Many of our leaders have received recognition and accolades for high-level of technical excellence.

Many factors have played critical roles in the Bangalore ComSoc chapter winning the CAA award in the APAC Region: guidance of the strong execom team, participation in events from industry and academia, the organization of deeper technical workshops, an infusion of energy in student branches, mentoring young professionals and researchers, leveraging social media for knowledge dissemination and continuous engagement at all levels.

The possibilities are endless, and our mindset is expansive. A glance at the macro-level India picture tells us that 5G deployments are being planned in 2021. Industries will be addressing unforeseen challenges. Top 100 solutions from start-ups/labs have been shortlisted from 1000+ entries in the 5G India hackathon. Academia is gearing up to pursue research for B5G and 6G.

I am privileged to continue leading this vibrant society in 2021 as well. We will strive to make this society stronger in terms of professional growth and community engagement — a force to reckon with!

We are looking forward to make 2021 a unique year!