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New Technology Connections: Future Directions

New Technology Connections is your resource to emerging technologies within the IEEE. The IEEE Future Directions team has identified the technologies on this page as primary focus areas and has established them as formal initiatives to engage IEEE and the general public. For each initiative, you will find a wealth of knowledge, resources, and opportunities to participate. Visit each featured portal for access to upcoming conferences, news articles, technical papers, related standards, professional organizations, and academic programs. To get involved in the initiatives and to stay informed, please join our free technical communities available on each of the portals below. To learn more, contact Future Directions.


  • IEEE Future Directions Blog 

    Read the new IEEE Future Directions Blog by Roberto Saracco.

    This blog offers daily insight and observations on emerging technologies, trends, and their implications.

  • IEEE Future Directions Webinars

    A comprehensive collection of webinars on a variety of groundbreaking, cutting-edge technologies.

  • IEEE Future Directions Events

    IEEE Future Directions hosts a variety of conferences, summits, and workshops. Learn more about emerging technologies, get involved with an initiative, and network with the community.

  • IEEE Technology Navigator


    Identifies technical activities, organizations, & products associated with a particular search term or tag. You may filter your query by an IEEE technical society or organization.

  • IEEE 5G Initiative

    Dedicated to bringing together researchers, scientists, and engineers from industry, academia, and governments around the world to solve the challenges associated with the development and deployment of 5G.


    IEEE DataPort

    A new easily accessible repository of datasets serving the growing data needs in both research and industry.

  • IEEE Technology Policy & Ethics

    IEEE Technology Policy & Ethics presents articles that address policy and ethics considerations in developing new technologies.




New Initiatives

Get involved in the current Future Directions Initiatives:

IEEE Blockchain

Blockchain - More than Cryptocurrency, blockchain is a technological foundation to a new way of conducting transactions, securing networks, and recording the validity and origin of data. Blockchain will allow a new perspective on how humans interact to society's challenges; touching upon everything from financial transactions, energy trading, carbon emission trading, protection and easy access to healthcare records, to the protection of the valued assets of corporations and nation states.


IEEE Brain

Brain - This initiative is dedicated to advancing technologies that improve the understanding of brain function, revolutionizing current abilities to reverse engineer neural circuits in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, and developing new approaches to interface the brain with machines for augmenting human-machine interaction and mitigating effects of neurological disease and injury.


IEEE Digital Reality

IEEE Digital Reality - The IEEE Digital Reality Initiative will serve as the go-to platform at the forefront blend of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), 360-degree media, immersive, and other future potential reality technology spaces.


IEEE Rebooting Computing

Rebooting Computing - IEEE seeks to rethink the computer, "from soup to nuts," including all aspects from device to user interface. This group works from a holistic viewpoint, taking into account evolutionary and revolutionary approaches.


IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative logo

Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative - Leveraging on IEEE Societies and ongoing work in the area of autonomous systems all over the world, the initiative aims to foster the transition to a symbiotic relation among autonomous systems.



5G - The IEEE 5G Initiative is dedicated to bringing together researchers, scientists, and engineers from industry, academia, and governments around the world to solve the challenges associated with the development and deployment of 5G. The IEEE 5G initiative will be a collaborative effort, bringing interdisciplinary exchange from a wide range of professional expertise and practical application knowledge.





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IEEE Future Directions Handbook

The purpose of the Future Directions Handbook is to provide guidance while creating and developing an IEEE Future Directions Initiative through its entire life cycle. This includes best practices, lessons learned, ideas for building new products and services, ideas for revenue generation, identifying proper organizational roles and responsibilities, and establishing budgets and financial goals. As part of the life cycle for an initiative, guidelines will be provided on completing an initiative, possible outcomes, and exit strategy. It will be continuously updated as new ideas and processes are identified.


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IEEE Future Directions podcasts

IEEE Future Directions interviews some of the top subject-matter experts in the field through its Q&A podcast series.


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IEEE Future Directions Resource Center

The IEEE Future Directions Resource Center offers a selection of products from Future Directions' current initiatives for sale. It contains electronic newsletters, videos, webinars, and white papers. IEEE members and IEEE technical community subscribers receive discounts on all products. Through the resource center, you will get a glimpse into the various Future Directions initiatives and the wide range of offerings. Future Directions plans to feature new initiatives and their products in the resource center throughout the year.


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New Technology Project Incubators: deadline for proposals is closed for 2017

Proposals for 2017 are no longer accepted. If you have an idea, please check back for when proposals will be accepted for 2018.


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Future Directions news

IEEE Future Directions Initiatives Report on New Developments

Read the latest highlights (PDF, 370 KB) on Future Directions Initiatives reported at the IEEE Meeting Series on 21 June 2017 in New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Subscribe to the IEEE Future Directions Newsletter
Members of an IEEE Future Directions technical community receive this newsletter automatically. If you wish to receive this newsletter directly in your inbox, please subscribe to one or more of our technical communities listed above.

Read the latest issue:




Future Directions Articles:

  • Choices Regarding Designs Today will Impact Our Shared Future Tomorrow: Read the article (PDF, 279 KB)
  • Riding the Technology Time Machine: Read the article (PDF, 134 KB)
  • IEEE Launches 5G Initiative to Coalesce Global Industry, Policy Makers, and Academia in Neutral Forum to Move 5G Forward: Read the article
  • Understanding the Societal Impact of Autonomous Technologies: Read the article (PDF, 182 KB)
  • Q&A with Doug Zuckerman, General Chair of IEEE TTM 2016: Read the interview (PDF, 232 KB)
  • IEEE CLOUDSCAPE Newsletter on IEEE and Big Data - May 2016 issue (PDF, 121 KB) 

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Future Directions events

Join Future Directions at the following events.


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Graduated initiatives

These initiatives have reached maturity after following through a full life cycle within Future Directions. Visit their web portals to continue to participate and learn about new volunteer opportunities.

IEEE Big Data Big Data - Big data is much more than just data bits and bytes on one side and processing on the other. IEEE, through its Cloud Computing Initiative and multiple societies, has already been taking the lead on the technical aspects of big data. To provide increased value, IEEE will provide a framework for collaboration throughout IEEE. IEEE has launched a new initiative focused on big data. Plans are under way to capture all the different perspectives via in-depth discussions, and to drive to a set of results that will define the scope and the direction for the initiative.
 IEEE Cloud Computing Cloud Computing - This has become a scalable service consumption and delivery platform in the modern IT infrastructure. IEEE is advancing the understanding and use of the cloud computing paradigm, which currently has a significant impact on the entire information and communications ecosystem.
IEEE Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Initiative - Through outreach projects, workshops, experiments, and challenge competitions, the IEEE Cybersecurity Initiative builds on IEEE’s long-standing and world-leading technical activities in cybersecurity and privacy to actively engage, inform, and support members, organizations, and communities involved in cybersecurity research, development, operations, policy, and education.


IEEE Green Information and Communications Technology

Green ICT - Green Information and Communications Technology is a key driver of sustainability when green metrics (energy consumption, atmospheric emissions, e-waste, life cycle management) are effectively coupled with its positive socio-economic impacts. IEEE is focused on achieving sustainability through greening ICT and promoting its awareness.


IEEE Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) - IoT is a self-configuring and adaptive system consisting of networks of sensors and smart objects whose purpose is to interconnect "all" things, including everyday and industrial objects, in such a way as to make them intelligent, programmable, and more capable of interacting with humans.

 IEEE Life Sciences Life Sciences - The overall objective is to make IEEE a major and recognized player in the life sciences, in particular in the disciplines that are at the intersection between the organization's traditional fields—electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science—and the life sciences.
IEEE Smart Cities

Smart Cities - IEEE experts will work with local government leaders and city planners around the world to explore the issues and address what's needed to prepare for the ever-increasing urban population growth, including engaging and interacting with local inhabitants to increase awareness of their urban environment, leading to the formation of smart cities.


 IEEE Smart Grid Smart Grid - The "smart grid" has come to describe a next-generation electrical power system that is typified by the increased use of communications and information technology in the generation, delivery, and consumption of electrical energy.
IEEE Software Defined Networks

Software Defined Networks (SDN) - SDN and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) are creating the conditions to reinvent network architectures. This is happening first at the edge of the network where "intelligence" has already started migrating, and where innovation is more urgently needed to overcome the "ossification" by improving networks and services infrastructure flexibility.


 IEEE Transportation Electrification Community Transportation Electrification - IEEE seeks to accelerate the development and implementation of new technologies for the electrification of transportation which is manifested in the electric vehicles (EV) of today and the future.

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IEEE Future Directions Committee

The IEEE Future Directions Committee (FDC), in association with Societies, Councils, and OUs, anticipates and determines the direction of existing, new, and emerging technologies and related issues, and spearheads their investigation and development by IEEE. Taking a holistic view, the FDC emphasizes new, emerging technical areas and drives them to maturity within the IEEE infrastructure. Additionally, the FDC serves as a liaison to and fosters cooperative efforts among Societies, Councils, and industry to develop new products and services in emerging topics.
The primary working objective of the IEEE Future Directions Committee:
  • Incubates emerging technologies and new applications of current technologies
  • Identifies opportunities to engage the engineering community and the general public
  • Works with IEEE members and staff to focus on emerging technologies through technical, professional, and educational activities
  • Serves as a catalyst for new conferences, publications, standards, educational products, forums, white papers, grants, and projects to support new technologies
FDC members, please access committee meeting schedule and documents on the IEEE roster. Presentations made during previous Future Directions Committee (FDC) workshops held at IEEE Meeting Series are available. You will find updates to all the current initiatives, latest report from Roberto Saracco to the TAB, and other interesting presentations.


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New technology proposal list

Through its committee and Industry Advisory Board, the IEEE Future Directions has compiled and maintains a list of new technology areas for consideration. For more detailed information, please visit the IEEE Future Directions New Technology Proposal List page.

You are welcome to submit new ideas. To submit one, please fill out this form. For more information, please contact IEEE Future Directions at

  • 3D Imaging and Multi-Media
  • In Memory Computing
  • 3-D Printing
  • Internet of Space
  • Autonomous Systems and their Societal Impact
  • Micro Fluidics
  • Bio Fuel
  • NanoPore DNA Sequencing
  • Blockchain
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • NewOS: RebootlessOS
  • Clean Water
  • Power in Mobile Systems
  • Cognitive Radio
  • Reliability
  • Digital Cultural Heritage and Smart Environments
  • Robotics Also Swarms
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Safety Critical Systems, Next Gen
  • Fog Computing and Networking
  • Symbiotic Machines



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IEEE Future Directions Blog

Read the new IEEE Future Directions Blog by Roberto Saracco for daily insight and observations on emerging technologies, trends, and their implications.

IEEE Future Directions Blog

IEEE Future Directions Webinars

IEEE Future Directions now offers a comprehensive collection of webinars on a variety of groundbreaking, cutting-edge technologies.

IEEE Future Directions Webinars

IEEE Technology Navigator