What's a 'Plugtests™ Event'?
- Plugtests™ refer to events where engineers get together to test the interoperability of their implementations between each other.
- Plugtests™ are part of the standardization process
- The implementations tested are prototypes
- The events are open to every developer
- They are usually short duration events (1-5 days)
- They take place within the time frame of the standards drafting
What is the goal of a Plugtests™ Event?
Interoperability. This is what standards are all about. Plugtests™ increase the probability of achieving interoperability by debugging the standard and companies' implementations at an early stage.
What happens during a Plugtests™ event?
Plugtests are also not trade shows. So care needs to be taken that only engineers with implementations come.
It seems that pretty sensitive information may be revealed at Plugtests™. Doesn't this risk outweigh the benefits?
The fact that companies do go to these events demonstrates that, at least for those, benefits outweigh risks. We put this question to the participants. On a scale of 1 (risks outweigh benefits) to 5 (benefits outweigh risks), the score was 4.2 at the Bluetooth UnPlugFest (37 questionnaires) and 4.1 at the latest ETSI-TIPHON/IMTC event (31 questionnaires).
Frequently, equipment manufacturers are running non-publicized tests with friendly competitors, or are in field trials with operators. So why should they care to come to Plugtests™?
Plugtests™ take place earlier in time, while the standard is still in the making. They don't make field trials superfluous.
Aren't interoperability events benefiting only small companies?
No. The question assumes 'wrongly' that a small company has an implementation which is inferior to that of a big company.
Aren't Plugtests™ benefiting only non-experienced companies, i.e. companies that are just starting to implement the standard, over experienced companies?
That's precisely the reason why the time-window for such events is rather short, i.e. only as long as the standard is still in the making. As soon as there is a general understanding on how to interpret a standard, there is no more incentive for the experienced player to participate in Plugtests™ and give newcomers lessons for free.
Is a Plugtests™ Event only for equipment manufacturers?
Most of the participants are equipment manufacturers (vendors). But often operators are experimenting with the standard as well, writing their own implementations to get a better understanding of the standard and of potential problems, and so do participate.
Are Plugtests™ something new?
No. Plugtests™ have been around for many years, though less in the telecommunications world. They are also known as 'PlugFests', 'Interoperability events', 'Group tests'.