This is the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation’s (AEF) final article in a series of eight that summarizes the benefits of ISOBUS.
If you have been following along throughout this series, we imagine you have learned quite a bit about how current ISOBUS technology is helping the agricultural community. And if this is the first article you are reading about ISOBUS, here is a quick summary of what we have been covering through our educational series over the past few months.
What Is ISOBUS?
The first release of the ISO standard 11783 occurred in 2001. The official title “Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry — Serial control and communications data network,” is rather a mouthful, but thankfully the ag industry was very quick to adopt the term “ISOBUS” when referring to the above standard.
The appeal of ISOBUS was that it gives the farmer the freedom to choose ag equipment from different brands, essentially to mix and match, to get the most suitable set up for his or her farming operation. But communication between tractors, implements and displays from different manufacturers did not always work trouble-free due to missing definitions in the ISO 11783 standard.
Farmers were confronted with ISOBUS solutions which were not compatible, and quickly found that the “plug-and-play promise” of ISOBUS had not been realized.
The AEF ISOBUS Database: A Compatibility Resource
So where can you find information about ISOBUS Compatibility? Visit the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) ISOBUS database here: www.aef-isobus-database.org.
You may be wondering what the ISOBUS capability is of a specific tractor or implement? Or, you may have a customer who wants to purchase an ISOBUS implement from your dealership but does not know the ISOBUS capabilities of the tractor they already own.
In the database, you can search individual products and see what ISOBUS functionalities they support. Searching can be done by manufacturer, by product type (tractor, sprayer, planter, etc.), or even by functionality. You can then search for other products too.
Not only will the database show you which ISOBUS function each individual product has, it will also show you what you can do if you connect all those products together (on the ISOBUS). This is an incredibly useful resource when you have to advise your customer on the compatibility of their next ISOBUS equipment purchase.
The AEF ISOBUS database contains information on all the ISOBUS products from the different manufacturers who have passed the AEF ISOBUS Conformance Test. So why not go to the AEF ISOBUS Database and create your account today. However please keep in mind that some OEMs have created a single sign on link from their respective dealer portals for their dealers to use instead. This would save you from having to remember yet another set of user credentials.
AEF ISOBUS Conformance: A Seal of Approval
ISOBUS products must pass the “AEF ISOBUS Conformance Test” to be listed in the AEF ISOBUS Database. The Conformance Test confirms that the ISOBUS product being tested complies with the ISOBUS standard and complies with the AEF Functionality Guidelines. In other words, the Conformance Test is an indication of ISOBUS compatibility.
Products that pass the test are referred to as “AEF ISOBUS Certified” and can “wear” the AEF Certified label decal.
AEF ISOBUS Certification is a sign of quality, it indicates that the ISOBUS product will be compatible with other certified ISOBUS products and using only AEF ISOBUS Certified products means there is less potential for problems during field operations. Good for the farmer and good for the dealer. Especially the technicians who will spend less time having to provide support to those farmers who are using AEF ISOBUS certified products.
Just remember — if you cannot find an ISOBUS product in the Database, it is because it has not passed the AEF ISOBUS Conformance test.
The AEF: Responding To the Needs of the Industry
The ISOBUS Database and the ISOBUS Conformance Test were both developed by the AEF in response to the industry-wide (i.e. farmers, dealers and OEMs) confusion following the introduction of the first ISOBUS systems. Discussions between manufacturers and different industry organizations (including the AEM) started taking place in 2006 which eventually led to the formation of the AEF in October, 2008.
Staff from the member companies, including the major and minor OEMS, volunteer some of their time each week to supporting AEF Project Teams. Each team is investigating a different issue regarding ISOBUS compatibility to find a solution. Defining ISOBUS in terms of Functionalities, development of the Conformance Test and the Database are examples of the teams’ efforts. In addition the twice yearly plugfests, which allow OEMS to come together and check ISOBUS compatibility of their respective ISOBUS products must not be forgotten either.
In fact, the success of the co-operation between the member companies has enabled the AEF to expand its scope beyond electronic communication between the tractor and implement to include (amongst other things) communication of precision farming data to and from the cloud as well as wirelessly between machines (from different manufacturers) working in the same field.
So, what is under the ISOBUS hood:
- The full benefits of ISOBUS can only be realized when products are compatible, i.e. they work together
- The AEF was formed to address the initial ISOBUS compatibility issues and has developed an ISOBUS Conformance Test
- Certified products can be found in the AEF ISOBUS Database which is a resource open to farmers, dealers and OEMS
We hope you will join us at an upcoming Plugfest, or take a look at the AEF ISOBUS Database. You can review more information about ISOBUS and the AEF by visiting https://www.aef-online.org/home.html
About the Author: This article is the eighth in a series of eight by the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF), an independent organization founded on October 28th, 2008 by seven international ag equipment manufacturers and two associations. Today eight manufacturers and three associations are working as core members together with 220 general members. They work to improve cross-manufacturer compatibility of electronic and electric components in agricultural equipment, and to establish transparency about compatibility issues. You can become a member and learn more about the AEF by visiting: www.aef-online.org/home.html or contact the AEF communications team: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Precision Ag - What's under the ISOBUS hood? series is brought to you by the AEF.
The AEF Mission — The development and support for the implementation of generally accepted standards for electric and electronic interfaces as well as standards for data exchange for the agricultural machinery industry. The AEF is providing a framework for the cooperation of all interested parties under the leadership of the core members whilst maintaining competition amongst all members. The AEF supports standardization organizations such as the International Standards Organization (ISO)