The most recent AEF ISOBUS Plugfest was held just a little over a month ago, during September 2018. We returned to the Savoia Regency Hotel in Bologna, Italy, where Plugfest had previously been held in 2016. This is the first time, in my experience, that the fall European Plugfest returned to a prior location unlike the spring Plugfest in the USA which is generally held at the same location every year. For various reasons, this Bologna location works well for such an event, and they are actively working to upgrade the conference facilities to provide an even better experience if we decide to come back again in two or three years. Probably the most inconvenient part of the location was the Bologna airport being closed for the arrival to Plugfest, which caused most everyone to fly to Venice, Milan, Florence, or somewhere else close instead.
As seems to be happening more and more, my Plugfest week continues to be less about Plugfest and more about all the other meetings going on. I did get to spend most of the first day of Plugfest visiting the stations and meeting with various industry colleagues from around the world. Wednesday morning was the AEF general assembly meeting, which is held annually. This basically gives a business update to the member companies and, in even years like this one, includes a vote for the AEF chair committee. All the current officers were re-elected to their seats for another two-year term at the helm of AEF, so congrats to them. The Wednesday afternoon meeting and the evening Plugfest dinner both focused on a major accomplishment of AEF: its 10 years of existence. This walk down memory lane was a good reminder of how we got to where we are and where we might be going in the future. And then on Thursday and Friday, I was in two project team meetings – PT6 Communication and Marketing and PT3 Engineering and Implementation. I am not sure whether my AEF involvement is a reflection of my career encompassing both technical and business development roles, or whether my career is a reflection of my AEF involvement.
I always highly recommend Plugfest attendance to anyone working in Ag electronics, or probably to anyone working in heavy-mobile-equipment electronics. You get to see how an industry group like AEF can bring together competitors to work toward common interoperability standards. And you get to engage with some of the best minds in the industry on the cutting edge of precision Ag technology. Plugfest this year had nearly 150 participants and over 100 visitors. So plan to join us next year for another Plugfest! The first opportunity is in May in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the second opportunity was still TBD on exact dates and location but is likely to be in September in Western Europe. Let me know if you plan to attend either and look me up if you attend.