IEEE Conference Organizers News
January 2012
Improved Financial Reporting in 2011
Handling Non-Presented Papers
Easing of U.S. Visa Procedures May Help Attract International Attendees
Does Co-Locating Your Conference Make Sense?
New Airline Fee Rules Clarify the Real Cost
Reminder of Important Conference Changes

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

~ Carl Sagan

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Improved Financial Reporting in 2011

The IEEE Conference Finance Services team wishes to thank all organizers managing conference financials for their assistance and hard work in 2011. It was a very successful year as we collectively reduced the elapsed time between conference end and administrative close by 15%.

In addition, more conferences were closed than ever before! At year-end 2011, the number of events remaining open is roughly half the amount for year-end 2010. Plus, the length of time required to get a conference closed is at an all-time low.

In 2012, the team looks forward to working with Conference Treasurers and Finance Chairs in all aspects of conference finance, including expedient and accurate closure.

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Handling Non-Presented Papers

One of the most challenging issues for IEEE conference organizers is dealing with accepted papers that are not presented, for whatever reason. Like many issues, planning and preparation are needed to properly address those situations that will occur.

Organizers are expected to provide an appropriate and adequate forum and time for oral presentation and discussion of all accepted papers. The conference committee should work to minimize author no-shows by ensuring an author has every opportunity to attend and present. This includes:

  • Submitting your conference for IEEE approval early (12 months or more before) to allow adequate lead time for venue selection, contracting  and communication, etc.
  • Making hotel, travel and visa information accessible to authors as early as possible, plus supporting individual requests in a timely and thorough fashion.
  • Offering presentation alternatives as the Conference Committee deems appropriate.

Authors who offer a paper for presentation at an IEEE conference or accept an invitation to present a paper are expected to be present at the meeting to deliver the paper.If unforeseen circumstances prevent its presentation by an author, the program chair should be informed immediately, and reasonable substitute arrangements should be made, in line with the approach adopted by the technical program committee in the planning stages.

Organizers and the conference sponsors have the right to exclude any paper from distribution (or limit its distribution) if the paper was not presented at the conference. If they choose that approach, organizers must clearly communicate the following to all authors prior to or at the time of submission (with special attention on the Call-For-Papers):

“IEEE reserves the right to exclude a paper from distribution after the conference (e.g., removal from IEEE Xplore) if the paper is not presented at the conference.

Papers excluded from further distribution will be archived at IEEE but will not be indexed or appear in IEEE Xplore."

For more details, please see the IEEE Meetings & Conferences Operations Manual, page 27

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Easing of U.S. Visa Procedures May Help Attract International Attendees

The U.S. Travel Association reported that recently proposed legislation could greatly simplify the U.S. visa process. The Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America (VISIT USA) Act was introduced with bipartisan support by two U.S. Senators to reduce the hurdle that the current U.S. visa process has become.

This will come as welcome news to organizers of U.S. conferences who have struggled with meeting the needs of international travelers caught up in the visa application process.

The VISIT USA Act includes many ideas for improving the U.S. visa system and removing bureaucratic red tape, such as offering a premium expedited visa process; introduce technology into the system (e.g. Video-conference interviews); encourage Chinese Nationals to travel to the U.S; encourage U.S. Travel during low peak season; expediting visas for allies not currently in the Visa Waiver Program; among other ideas.

For additional details, GO HERE

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Does Co-Locating Your Conference Make Sense?

The concept is simple, by co-locating two (or more) events in one venue over the same dates while maintaining separate brand/identity, ownership and finances, organizers seek opportunities to leverage marketing dollars, create and maximize cross promotions and reach a larger audience.

So what are the benefits? By creating a larger event, conferences can realize a number of scale efficiencies:

  • Greater traffic for exhibitors and access to different , diverse audiences
  • Access to better venues/hotels and better rates
  • Higher volume resulting in lower registration service fees
  • More support from Convention and Visitor Bureaus, etc.
  • Access to a higher quality keynote speaker for a joint general session
  • Faster & simpler entry into a new market

While it is true all of the above are potential gains, they do not occur without a healthy dose of evaluation and planning, within your committee and with the other conference. Below are some questions to answer before proceeding:

  • Are the conferences well aligned (by audience or field of interest) to generate synergy's? Is there a logical and clear connection?
  • What specific goals are you seeking for your conference that will be achieved by co-locating?
  • Are both conferences committed to the partnership required?
  • Do the conferences trust each other? Can they work together?
  • Is there a clear and unambiguous approach and authority to contract signing and handling relationships with exhibitors, facilities and vendors?
  • Will being part of a larger event impact the traditional feeling and networking of your conference? How will you maintain your conference identity within a larger event?

Given economic pressures and reductions in exhibitor presence, co-location is a trend that will continue. It may not make sense for all conferences, but many have realized benefits and gains from doing so.

For more details see the PCMA Website.

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New Airline Fee Rules Clarify the Real Cost

Determining the full, actual cost of an airline ticket became easier on January 25 when new rules went into effect. They require that published airfares include all mandatory taxes and fees and disclosure of baggage fees to consumers. Currently, airlines were able to list government-imposed taxes and fees separately from the advertised fare.

In addition to eliminating the hidden taxes and fees, passengers can now hold a reservation without payment for 24 hours or cancel a reservation during that period without penalty. Airlines also will be required to notify passengers of delays of more than 30 minutes, as well as flight cancellations and diversions. In most cases, they will be prohibited from increasing the price of passengers’ tickets after purchase.

Click here to read the entire Washington Post article.

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Reminder of Important Conference Changes

As noted in fall 2011, there are two significant changes related to IEEE Conferences to take note of.:

  • Before IEEE Conference Services can provide final approval, conferences must have a fully executed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in place.
  • Subsections, Chapters, Affinity Groups and Student Organizations wishing to grant financial co-sponsorship or technical co-sponsorship to conferences involving non-IEEE entities must obtain approval by the Section to which that organizational unit belongs. (Geographic Councils must seek approval from their Region)

For more details, please see the October 2011 newsletter. If you have questions, please contact IEEE Conference Services.

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