ISO 11783 is hardly the most seductive phrase to woo potential partners with, but in the world of ISOBUS, it means everything and its smooth integration is the desire of all involved.

With a view to improving the relationship between all the devices and mechanisms that are heavily dependent upon the protocol, the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) has just announced that its annual North American 2022 Plugfest will take place in New Orleans in March.

Getting it together

The event is an occasion for engineers and software developers to gather together and actually try out their interpretation of the standard on everybody else's interpretation, to ensure a perfect match.

ISOBUS is the universal open source protocol which aims to standardise the communication systems on agricultural equipment and is set out in ISO standard 11783.

ISOBUS communication speed at Plugfest
Connecting machines via ISOBUS involves complex software in addition to the regular looking plug and socket

Unfortunately, due to the variation and complexity of anything to do with the digital world, manufacturers have interpreted the standard in different ways, which has led to problems in integration.

Plugfest seeks compatibility

The idea of the AEF Plugfests, which began in 2001, is to help engineers overcome these differences by presenting the opportunity to test the compatibility of systems face to face with others in the industry.

Andrew Olliver, vice chairman, AEF explains how the event works:

"You get a whole bunch of engineers in the room sitting at dozens of tables, and every half an hour, the buzzer goes and a new ISO partner from another company sits down to connect their ISOBUS products to see if they 'speak the same language'."

He is keen to stress that it is not about competition between manufacturers, but far more a case of communication and collaboration to ensure that ISOBUS continues to evolve as a common software language spoken and understood by all machines and implements.

The AEF is holding Plugfest 2022 in conjunction with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), at the Commodity Classic agriculture trade show on March 10, 2022.