Prepared by: Nordin Ramli, Executive Committee for IEEE Malaysia Section

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 IEEE R10 Panel of Conference Organizers (POCO 2020) was successfully organized by IEEE Malaysia Section and broadcasted virtually on 30th November 2020, 9AM – 2PM Malaysia Time. POCO is an annual event for leading conference organizers around the world. IEEE organizes this event to share resources and ideas with all scientific associations and non-profit conference organizers. POCO provides a platform for thought leaders and decision-makers to share conference leadership practices, discuss challenges in the conference landscape, envision the future, and launch new conference initiatives. This event provides an opportunity to conference organizers to network and share ideas with the whole community. POCO 2020 in Kuala Lumpur was organized for the second time after the first successful event held in 2017. This POCO 2020 event was supported by IEEE Region 10 Support Grant. The event was joined by more than 100 participants from various places accross Asia.

The organizing committee of POCO 2020 showcased renowned speakers from Region 10 as well as from Malaysia. The event started with the officiating remarks by the Director of IEEE Region 10, Prof. Akinori Nishihara. He emphasized on the importance of preserving quality in conference management, which was also an important element to be reviewed by the Region 10 office. The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Lance Fung, the 2021-2022 R10 Director-Elect, where he again emphasized on quality control in the process of reviewing conference papers. Other speakers included Prof. Zuhaina Zakaria, Prof. Celia Shannaz, Dr. Nirmal Nair, Dr. Mohamad Faizal Ahmad Fauzi, Dr. Fawnizu Azmadi Hussein and Dr. Md Pauzi Abdullah. Mr. Deepak Mathur, IEEE R10 2021-2020 Director spoke of his vision and plan for year 2021, and shared his idea on enhancing collaboration.

POCO 2020 was also fortunate to have the CEO of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), who shared their initiatives and support grants for conferences by the government. IEEE Malaysia Section is hoping this event can provide the platform to utilize the support iniatives by the Malaysian government that conference organizers can benefit from. At the end of the event, a panel session was held to share the experiences of running virtual conferences in the midst of the pandemic. The panelists include Prof. Supavadee Aramvith (Vice-Chair, IEEE SYWL 2020), and Mr. Muhammad Faris Mohd Firdaus & Mr. Muhammad Hisyam Harmizon, from UTHM Student Branch who had organized IEEE SCORED 2020.

POCO2020 event was successfully organized and benefitted many participants throughout the Asia-Pacific region. A similar event is planned in the future to continue the sharing of best practices on conference management to potential conference organizers within IEEE Region 10.