RadarConf 2021 Perfecting It’s Virtual Game

August 27, 2021 by ekurzawa
Filed in: Virtual & Hybrid Event Case Studies Tag: Case Studies

Radar technologies are everywhere, keeping us safe in our vehicles, protecting us from hurricanes, and helping us explore the stars. This year’s Annual US IEEE Radar Conference (RadarConf 2021) convened virtually from 8-14 May 2021. Co-sponsored by the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AESS) and the IEEE Atlanta Section, the event consisted of a technical conference, tutorials, a student paper competition, the “Radar Challenge,” and the Radar Summer School.

This year was RadarConf 2021’s second year going virtual since the pandemic. The dedicated organizing committee designed a memorable virtual event experience. The committee partnered with the MCE Digital Events Team for the second year in a row for their virtual event expertise, production skills, and live event support.

The team selected a suite of platforms that would support a positive attendee experience and help RadarConf 2021 realize its vision. For a seamless registration process, the team chose the Cvent platform. The Engagez platform served as the primary vehicle for supporting RadarConf 2021’s technical talks, tutorials, exhibit hall, and Summer School. To manage the event’s multitude of papers, the committee selected the Epapers tool.

To support participants looking to break into the radar field, RadarConf 2021 offered a two-day Radar Summer School the weekend before the conference. During each hour-long session, participants enjoyed foundational lectures from noted radar experts. Speakers covered radar fundamentals like intros to signal processing, clutter, and weather radar.

For a deeper dive into radar applications, participants could choose from over 17 individual tutorials. Participants could register for the complete tutorial package, a la carte tutorials, or tutorial notes. These diverse tutorials covered everything from the basics to the latest advancements in radar technology. The intersection of academia and industry in radar tracking and recent developments in maritime radar detection were just a few of the titles in the program.

RadarConf 2021’s technical program broadly addressed topics in radar systems, subsystems, techniques, technology, applications, phenomenology, and signal processing. Plenaries and special lectures highlighted radar experts working in both government and academia. Speakers offered their wisdom on topics like spectrum environment for the future of radar and applying cognitive systems to radar technologies.

RadarConf 2021’s rich program featured 23 tracks, including 40 sessions in 4 parallel tracks. To provide additional support for authors and participants, the committee assigned two to three subject matter experts to each track. Over 211 presenters, including 175 authors, shared their research at the event. Participants could join presentations on MIMO radar techniques, cognitive radar and machine learning, and automotive applications of radar.

Twelve special sessions featured dynamic presentations from multiple authors co-presenting on unique topics in radar. Participants gained exciting insights on the application of radar in industries like biomedicine and e-healthcare, security, and aerospace.

A 90-minute panel session featured an animated exchange on radar technologies with senior leaders from government and industry. The panel addressed the application of radars for autonomous transportation, Earth sensing, and future workforce trends.

RadarConf 2021 encouraged participants to flex their skills by signing up for competitions and challenges. The Student Paper Competition recognized individual students for their outstanding technical contributions. Finalists presented their papers to a panel of judges during the conference. The top three competitors were awarded cash prizes and were recognized during the banquet awards ceremony. The Radar Challenge invited DIY-ers to submit 10-minute video tutorials on their experiences developing and experimenting with home-grown radars. Winners of the competition were also awarded prizes during the event.

Networking opportunities were plentiful during RadarConf 2021. At a Women in Engineering session, Dr. Serpil Ayasli discussed the highs and lows of being the first female recipient of the Warren D. White Award for Excellence in Radar Engineering. Young Professionals also received career guidance at a session on the “Six Keys to Success” and a panel presentation on radar career trajectories. In keeping with the theme of recognition of younger radar engineers, a Celebration of Life Tribute to Mike Wicks, a mentor to numerous members of the radar community, was part of the conference. Mike died in December 2020, and one of his final acts as a benefactor to the radar community was a student grant for travel to all future radar conferences.

Connecting participants and exhibitors can be a challenge in the virtual event format. Participants played “exhibitor bingo” to win prizes by visiting RadarConf 2021’s nearly 20 exhibitors. During exhibitor sessions, industry leaders like Lockheed Martin, STR, Telephonics, and Anduril offered product demos and discussed the latest and greatest offerings in the field.

The organizing committee was delighted to find that RadarConf 2021 was well-received by participants and exhibitors. The event also demonstrated financial success, yielding a strong surplus, after repaying all loans. Strong relationships with partners positively influenced the success of the event. Vice Chair Theresa Brunasso shares, “The MCE Digital Events team crushed it in terms of the expertise and support they provided for our event. They were so easy to work with.”

The RadarConf 2021 virtual event provided a forum for fueling advancements in radar. Chair Kristin Bing shares, “We were so pleased to be able to successfully bring our community together and provide opportunities for professional development, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration.” Planning is underway to hold RadarConf 2022 as a hybrid event in New York City in March of 2022.

Learn More about RadarConf 2021