Thursday, March 24, 2011

European Plugfest is a GO

...for me, at least. The word came down yesterday morning that I am to represent Alerton at the European plugfest in Saarbrücken, Germany. As noted on BACnet International's (B.I.'s) BACnet Events Calendar, this will take place May 11th through the 13th.

It was difficult to figure out how to arrange this, since the BACnet Committee meetings were tentatively scheduled the following week, traditionally leading off with the testing-related working groups (B.I.'s BACnet Testing Labs working group and the BACnet Committee's testing & Interoperation group). For those of us from North America this posed a problem; we could not fly home from Europe until Saturday and then we would have to turnaround and fly out (to San Francisco) on Sunday for the start of meetings Monday. It can be done, but back-to-back trips like that are risky, and we'd all be heavily jetlagged besides.

But last week BACnet Chairman Dave Robin changed the meeting dates to May 2 through 6, and this changed the whole picture. For my part, I will be able to fly home from the meetings Friday afternoon, spend Saturday & Sunday at home, and fly off to Europe on Monday (arriving Tuesday for the plugfest beginning Wednesday). East Coast folks attending both will have it a little more rough, at worst with only Sunday spent at home.

So I now have to fill out and submit the application, and start arranging my trip.

But it will be good. The plugfests are always interesting affairs. They're closed to the public to help foster a spirit of cooperation between groups who compete in the open marketplace (in the world of BACnet interoperability, we all win when our devices work together). There is always something to be learned, even for companies such as Alerton who have been BACnet for a very long time. And for new BACnet companies and new development teams, there is a lot that can be learned from others about the downside of making assumptions when developing.

As a participant in these events since sometime in the 90s, I have long urged all BACnet manufacturers to come and participate in these plugfests. The European plugfest is held every other year in the spring, the North American every year in the autumn. Nobody has ever, I think, come away without at leats one or two surprises.

The deadline to apply is tomorrow; if you are even considering attending I recommend sending an email ASAP to the BIG-EU Office, requesting a copy of the Invitation and Registration Form.

Hope to see you there!

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