When you travel, as we all do, how many paper books, magazines and newspapers do you see on the plane or train these days? If your experience is like mine, the answer is, “not many.” Those few publications that are not available in digital form give you no other option, but many people now are opting for digital formats they can use on their mobile device of choice. Personally, I love my iPad and my iPhone, and I read everything I can on those two devices. I take them everywhere. If the FAA would stop requiring me to turn them off for the first and last 10 minutes of every flight, I could eliminate paper entirely.
AFCEA International and many of the AFCEA chapters globally have been leveraging the digital environment for a long time, but we have accelerated our efforts in this area over the past year to give everyone the flexibility and mobility they seem to want. For those of us that continue to like to read SIGNAL Magazine in its print format, let me put your concerns to rest immediately. We will continue to print SIGNAL for the foreseeable future. We recently invested in a content management system that allows us to develop content once, but publish to a variety of formats and platforms.
While headquarters has told you about these things as they were developed, let me review some of the most significant additions to the media products we have introduced.
Each full edition of SIGNAL Magazine now is available on Apple, Android and Kindle Fire platforms. Owners of iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets and Kindle Fires can download the SIGNAL app for $1.99, with all proceeds going to the AFCEA Educational Foundation to support STEM scholarships and grants. These apps provide full-featured editions of SIGNAL Magazine, a library to store your collection of issues and news feeds between editions. And, the digital format enables embedded videos and direct Internet links that cannot be provided in print. You are going to want to be able to access SIGNAL this way, so I encourage you to download your app today. You will be asked to validate your AFCEA membership the first time you download the app, so have your membership card handy with your membership number. If you can’t find it, phone or email us and we will get you reading digitally.
AFCEA International’s digital newsletter, SIGNAL Connections, is not new, but the richness of content is. SIGNAL Connections has evolved to include news, videos, vital embedded links and an exciting format. If you have not read SIGNAL Connections recently, I encourage you to do so.
Every year finds the Source Book in the January edition of SIGNAL Magazine, and the Source Book has been available online for some years in a searchable version. In the past year, AFCEA also has released other functional online directories. These initially were developed at the request of the government to give these topics better visibility over the whole of industry in our markets. This is particularly useful with regard to small businesses, which are harder for the government to follow. Use of these directories has expanded as companies have found them valuable for identifying other firms for teaming and partnership purposes. While the original Source Book identifies only AFCEA member companies, the functional directories are available to all companies, members or not. There is no cost to list a company in the directories and to populate the directories with relevant company information. Current directories include Cyber Security, Education, Health IT, Homeland Security and Intelligence. The directories can be found easily on the lower right of the AFCEA International website under “Publications.”
On the social media front, AFCEA International has a significant presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr. Members globally can share information quickly through these networks by joining the AFCEA groups. Readers should check them out to see how useful they can be.
For those who like their information visually and in motion, AFCEA International has a channel on YouTube. Viewers can find interviews with senior leaders, information on exciting new applications, AFCEA speaker and event videos and, perhaps most important, training videos for leaders throughout AFCEA. Thousands of volunteers around the world make AFCEA work, and all of them have demanding day jobs and little time to learn about AFCEA roles and the laws, regulations and policies that apply. AFCEA Headquarters has prepared a series of videos available on the YouTube channel that provide the needed training in small, digestible bites that do not consume a great deal of time. As a result of all these efforts, a great deal of digital content is available to AFCEA members. Please take advantage of it. And, please tell us if there is something you would like to see that is not there. Your portal to all of it is the AFCEA International website. Visit the site often, and reap the benefits offered by your association.