Outreach Report

AgIN Workshop in Germany Moves the Needle

By Ben Craker, Portfolio Manager

John Deere hosted the AEF AgIN (Agricultural Interoperability Network) workshop 24 -25 January at their office in Kaiserslautern, Germany. I was pleased to be able to attend -- there was great participation with 18 people representing four equipment manufacturers, an FMIS, an industry data router, and two other AEF member associations in addition to myself.

The goal of AgIN is to create a peer-to-peer network to simplify data exchange among all the different systems involved in agriculture. AgGateway is helping with the AgIN project because the new ADAPT Standard is a logical fit within the work order and work record use cases as a means to facilitate the transfer of that data between systems. Additionally, there are other parts of ADAPT that could support future use cases for things like transferring setup data like the grower/farm/field information between systems or sharing product data between systems as well.

The goal of this particular meeting was to finalize documentation of Use Cases for the network so they can be handed over to development teams to start work. These Use Cases are somewhat similiar to the AEF ISOBUS functionalities – it’s basically a feature set that a system can be conformance tested on.

In the context of AgIN, the Use Cases are the types of data two systems can exchange – for example, one covers work orders or prescription map exchange, another is for telemetry exchange so an end user could see the current location of all their machines (regardless of brand) in the same application or website. At this meeting, The group focused on agreeing to the minimal viable product (MVP) for the initial list of use cases.

To begin with, the use cases cover core functions on how participants join and find each other in the network in addition to basic telemetry (logistics), work order, and work record transfer. The assumption is that there will be versions of the various Use Cases to allow the addition of broader capabilities, so the team was working to define the MVP scope for each use case. This list is just the start – AgIN is planned to have an expanding list of Use Cases, each with its own conformance tests, to grow and adapt to market needs over time.

An essential element of the AgIN initiative is that network participants will consist of AEF member organizations who have agreed to the AgIN legal framework and completed the conformance test for core functionality for things like trust certification.

This is one point of value of the network compared to the current one-off connection process. Instead of equipment manufacturers, software providers, and other systems having to establish legal data agreements one by one, members of the network will all commit to one common agreement to participate in the network. A first draft of this agreement – which is compliant with EU GDPR and other similar regulations – is currently out for review with the legal teams from participating organizations. This will allow anyone in the network to connect and move data with any other participant, as long as the end user authorizes the data. No data will be shared in the network without the end use initiating the transfer.

The farmer or end user is at the core of all data permissioning. Two systems – for example an equipment manufacturer cloud and an FMIS – can connect within the network, but no data transfer takes place until the end user links their FMIS and equipment cloud accounts. AgIN will establish the legal framework and standardized interfaces to connect the platforms as well as the conformance test for supported use cases. One example of a Use Case is work record transfer – both the FMIS and equipment platforms need to pass the conference test for that Use Case. If either system has not passed the test it will not show up as an option for the user to select for that type of sharing.

The meeting was productive and spirited at times as the group worked to get everyone to agree on some of the different topics. There is more work to be done for sure, but interest and passion for the project by multiple key organizations and their representatives is significant – so be on the lookout for more info and updates.

The AEF Plugfest being held in conjunction with Commodity Classic this year in Houston will be a great opportunity to talk with some of the AgIN participants in person to learn more. If you are a member of AEF and interested in participating make sure to contact office@aef-online.org to get added to the team or for more information on joining the organization. If you have any questions or want to know more about AgGateway’s involvement contact ben.craker@aggateway.org.

For more about the project, below are some helpful links:

AgIN Launch Press Release: https://www.aef-online.org/aef-news/aef-starts-agin-as-data-space-initiative.html

Information on AEF: https://www.aef-online.org/about-us/teams.html#/Projects

AEF Video Explaining AgIN: https://youtu.be/tlAGEKmPH8A?si=xSPKwgDTBEb9092c