Plugfest: When Wires Get Crossed

July 14, 2009 07:00 PM
 

Margy Fischer, Farm Journal Machinery Editor
 
Plugfests are held twice a year, and they have nothing to do with hair replacement treatments. More than 70 engineers representing all kinds of ag equipment and electronics manufacturers gather to test the feasibility of plug and play.
 
We last reported on the ISOBUS 11783 electronics standard, more than two years ago. (Tractors and Tools That Talk)Since then, there has been significant progress toward cooperating companies working together toward a compatible future.
 
At a Plugfest, all of the companies set up their equipment in a horseshoe shape around a meeting room. Then according to scheduled time slots, they rotate around the u-shape of meeting tables and plug in their equipment to another's. A detailed record is taken of what works (but more so what doesn't). After the Plugfest, the engineers put their discoveries into their queue to be resolved. That's until the next Plugfest when they do it all over again.
 
I left the meeting with an appreciation of all of these companies (who are pretty intense competitors at times) working together on behalf of farmers. All of them said at one point, they just want their customer to be able to get the most out of the product they've purchased. And they don't want farmers to have any downtime because of electronic incompatibility.
 
ISOBUS 11783 is an international movement. In fact, the European market leads the effort. The North American group will join with the European and Brazilian ISOBUS groups to continue their efforts together in the Ag Industry Electronic Federation (AEF). The AEF will provide a global platform for testing, compliance, and development.
 

 
You can e-mail Margy Fischer at mfischer@farmjournal.com.
 

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