Plugfest brings manufacturers together to test out ISOBUS compatibility


The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) held its semi-annual Plugfest at Commodity Classic last month at Orlando, Florida, in order to continue to make technology easier and more transparent to the farming community.

The AEF was founded in 2008 by John Deere, Komatsu, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), AGCO, Case IH, New Holland, Claas, and others.

Focusing mainly on ISOBUS education, Plugfest is essentially the speed dating of the ISOBUS world, says Andrew Olliver, chairman of the AEF. ISOBUS, for those that aren’t familiar, is essentially the common language that runs between the tractor and the implement — the international communication protocol that sets the standard for agriculture electronics.

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Over 100 software engineers from all over the world “plugged in” their new ISOBUS products together to see if they work.

“At each table, there’s typically a device, it’ll be either a display or a tractor control unit. And then every 45 minutes, someone else comes and sits down at that table, and they represent an implement manufacturer. They have 45 minutes to connect to the tractor device and plug it in, and see if the implement can be operated,” says Olliver.

It’s not so much a competition as a cooperation event, with 20 of the top different agricultural equipment manufacturers represented at the event. It is there for the education of the farmer as well, says Olliver, as they want to give the farmers the chance to buy the tractor they want, and the implement they want, “which is quite often not actually the same colour.”

The result of the testing that occurs at Plugfest gets taken back to the respective development facility, and looked at whether or not something needs to be changed.

“From the public point of view, there is a way for the public to understand ISOBUS compatibility,” Olliver explains. “That’s what the product we call the ATF ISOBUS database. And that’s a database which is available for manufacturers to use, for dealers to use, and also for the public to use as well.”

It’s a great live opportunity, says Olliver, to see the ag industry in action, collaborating together on future technology.

Check out the full conversation between Olliver and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below:

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