AEF Plugfest tests electronic product interoperability

Brand compatibility, connectivity on view during Commodity Classic

AEF A scene from the 2023 Plugfest in Orlando. (Photo: AEF)

The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), a global non-profit organization founded to improve cross-manufacturer compatibility in agricultural equipment, is charging up for its annual spring North American Plugfest, to be co-located with Commodity Classic trade show in Houston this year.

The Plugfest brings together dozens of technical teams from ag equipment manufacturers around the world so they can “plug in” their competing equipment, ensuring all colors work together seamlessly. The Plugfest will be held February 28 – March 1 at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center in rooms 360 A-C.

The AEF Plugfest provides an opportunity for precision ag software engineers to temporarily put aside competition and test the interoperability of their ISObus products. The event has grown from its beginning in 2001 with a handful of engineers to today where hundreds of experts have the opportunity to meet twice a year to test compatibility and correct ISOBUS communication between the devices.

“Farmers need tools that work. Plugfest is a non-competitve, collaborative testing environment to validate product interoperability,” said Norbert Schlingmann, general manager, AEF. “Our event is an important place for innovative software engineers to realize true challenges, solutions and opportunities as the industry crosses the digital divide.”

During Plugfest, engineers test their ISObus products for compatibility with those from their competitors in speed-dating like fashion, performing up to 48 different tests in 30-minute timeslots to see what works the first time, and sometimes where improvements are needed to obtain compatibility on the ISObus.

The Plugfest brings together dozens of technical teams from ag equipment manufacturers around the world so they can “plug in” their competing equipment, ensuring all colors work together seamlessly. Shown is the scene in Orlando in 2023. (Photo: AEF)

“The Commodity Classic’s ‘New Frontier’ theme is fitting for our upcoming spring Plugfest,” said Ryan Milligan, deputy communications & marketing, AEF. “The teams of engineers will be testing new products under development, and also working with future technologies like High Speed ISObus, digital camera communication, and more. It’s exciting and show attendees are welcome to take a peek at these literal pioneers working behind the curtain to see the future in progress.”

New this year:

  • AEF’s recently announced Universal Terminal third generation (UT3) conformance test will be available to help manufacturers identify and reduce compatibility issues, guaranteeing cross-brand interoperability between ISOnud certified devices. The AEF hit a milestone in December last year celebrating its tenth year of ensuring transparency of ISOBUS compatibility.
  • A “High Speed ISObus (HSI) Discovery Station” where displays, electronic control units and switches from multiple manufacturers will be connected as software engineers test whether their components are discoverable on the new HSI architecture. A new AEF Digital Camera Systems project team will be testing their products for the first time.

“We want to thank the Commodity Classic and the AEM for providing the opportunity to co-locate our North American Plugfest for the third year in a row,“ said Milligan. “It’s important work that benefits the industry as a whole.”

AEF Plugfests, biannual events held in the United States and Europe, began in 2001 to help engineers test ISObus products under development, and ensure that manufacturers of tractors, implements and components were interpreting the ISO 11783 standard in a compatible way. The events attract hundreds of attendees and participants, including AEF member companies AGCO, CNH Industrial, Claas, John Deere, Kubota, Kuhn, and SAME Deutz-Fahr, among others.

Dealers, farmers and other show attendees are invited to watch the industry’s cooperative spirit in action as the software engineers work together to develop tomorrow’s technology.

AEF membership is required for participant registration and applies to anyone who is directly or indirectly involved with testing activities. Late registration will be open through February 11. Visitor registration is available to those who are observing the AEF activities and are not involved in testing activities. Visitor registrations will be accepted through February 28th. For more information about AEF, please visit:


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