IEEE ComSoc Chapter Achievement Award (CAA) and Chapter of the Year (CoY) Award for Austin

As the chapter chair for Austin, I’m pleased that we received CAA and CoY awards and this has been the third time we receive both awards. The previous times were in 2015 and 2017.

This is a reflection to the dedication of the officers and support by local members and encouragement from the community. The leadership team consists of:

  • Fawzi Behmann, Chair
  • Norma Antunano, Vice Chair
  • Hanan Potash, Past chair
  • Vittal Siddaiah, Program
  • Nitin Garg, Website
  • Eric Zavesky, AT&T Liaison

We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with AT&T where we hold our regular meetings until Q1, 2020 when we had to switch to virtual due to the pandemic.

The Austin chapter is part of Central Texas section with over 4,000 members and 10,000 subscribers. Austin, is a vibrant and high tech hub in North America. That is where IEEE Globecom 2014 was held.
I have the opportunity to set up different themes from year to the next focusing on advancement in disruptive technologies such as 5G/6G, IoT, AI, security enabling and block chain enabling many use cases for different markets such as smart cities, public safety, autonomous driving, healthcare and others. As we change the topic title and guest speaker, we witnessed change in attendance and that helped create active participation and dialogue.

Technical Meetings

We held 17 technical meetings on a variety of topical areas: Future of Technologies, AI, Sensor Network, Smart cities, Future of RF, SDR, Data Analytics, Cyber-Physical Systems and others

Here is sample of some of the topics presented:

  • “Collaborative Technologies Trends in 2019 that will disrupt the market in 2020”, Fawzi Behmann, President of TelNet Management
  • “Underground Sensor Network for Water Pipe Leakage Detection”, Prof. Semih Aslan, Texas State
  • “Cyber-Physical System Challenges to the Trustworthiness of Systems”, Prof. Al Mok, UT Austin
  • “Accelerating AI using HPC”, Vittal Siddaiah, Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State, San Marcos
  • “Using SDRs and FPGAs to create Advanced Wireless Testbeds”, Sarah Yost, National Instruments
  • “The Future of RF & Microwave Systems”, Erik Luther, X-Microwave Sys

Our activities went beyond holding technical meeting. The remaining sections cover some other initiatives that we conducted:

IEEE Austin and Student Outreach

We have initiated 2 Student Outreach projects at Texas State, each was a 8-months in duration and focused on community hands-on IoT projects:

I’ve introduced these projects to Texas State administration and they have accepted them as a part of the credited program. The two projects, each consists of faculty advisor, lecturer, host sponsor, and two teams, each of 4 students including a leader. The framework of the two projects were signed before of the start of thee projects.

The two projects were:

  • “Smart Cities Patient Fall Detection”
  • “Smart City Concept Garage System”

The Texas State Faculty Advisors were Prof. Semih Aslan and Prof. Damian Valles and IEEE Host sponsor was Fawzi Behmann.

As a host representing IEEE I established high-level definition, goal, expectation and project description. The students provided details forming SOW – Statement of Work, followed by written specification. The focus of the remaining part of the first semester was for the students to dive deeper into the requirements, understanding technology and application, defining architecture of a functional prototype system. Towards the end of the first semester, students purchased all the material, assembled the parts and started testing individual units. The second term focused on building software and started sub-system testing leading to a high level functional prototype testing, storing data in the cloud and implemented AI-based functions.

I had weekly status call with students and responded to any of their needs. At year-end with the completion of these projects, students demonstrated the project at Texas State year-end senior design day. I handed certificate of achievement and I invited students to deliver special presentation to IEEE Austin chapter as well as facilitated for the students to demonstrate their project at Texas Smart Cities event. The demo positive attention and dialog with attendees.

Smart City Summit – SCS

SCS – Smart City Summit, was held Dec. 1, Austin. https://attend.ieee.org/scs-2019/

The chapter worked closely with ComSoc to drive membership as a part of the summit. Special rates were created. The results, 30 members joined from ComSoc and 16 were new members. This is the second highest delivered by a chapter worldwide in this ComSoc initiative held in 2019.

The SCS summit attracted 133 persons. The 1-day summit was held at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), one of the largest in the nation. IEEE USA President followed by TACC Executive director and Fawzi Behmann delivered the summit opening remarks and program outline. The core program content had three segments focused on disruptive technologies and impact on building smart cities, improving healthcare and mobility. Each segment had a keynote speaker, followed by a deep dive panel session (4 experts and moderator).  At the end of the core program, we had a showcase of innovative projects from startup and students. The program concluded with an Executive Recap session focusing on future direction. We held a special appreciation dinner photo at near by restaurant that was attended by the speakers and special guests and organizers.

The three keynote speakers were:

  • Patricia Florissi, Vice President and Global CTO for Sales, Dell/EMC
  • John Cole, Chief Executive Officer of SkyTran
  • David Atienza, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and head of the Embedded Systems Laboratory at EFPL, Switzerland

Prof. Dharm Sign, DL from Africa was part of the panel and spoke to the chapter, UT and Texas State Graduate students.

Other Activities

  • Jointly presented at a public forum with AT&T Wireless CTO, CEO of Texas Advanced Technology Council on 5G technologies.
  • Had taken part in IoT Panel on “IoT-Smart Networks and Social Innovations” at IEEE (VIC) Vision/Innovation Challenges Summit.
  • Supported IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE) and Supported National Instruments Week held in Austin.
  • Supported ComSoc Summer School and the first Student conference.

I wish I can share more details but feel free to reach out to me at f.behmann@ieee.org

Two teams from Texas State University with Fawzi Behmann demonstrating hands-on IoT Outreach Projects on Patient Fall Detection and Garage System
A well attended Smart City Summit in Austin including 30 new members