Full Plugfest Schedule


ESTA’s Plugfest is a unique opportunity to connect your entertainment products with those of other manufacturers to test and resolve network compatibility challenges. Attendees bring controllers, intelligent lights, control protocol analyzers, and other network-connected components. People attend from around the world to pursue improvement of their customer's product experiences. The ESTA Plugfest has become a required step in many global manufacturers' product development roadmaps.

Previous Plugfest events have attracted a wide array of prototype and production level products from a diverse range of architectural and entertainment manufacturers. Remote Device Management (E1.20-RDM) is experiencing wide adoption within the architectural lighting community and many first-time attendees bring architectural products for interoperability testing.

Plugfest is a chance to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of the Control Protocols Working Group (CPWG) - one of the Technical Standards Program’s largest working groups. ESTA invites the industry to drop in, test your gear, refresh your knowledge, and become a part of the Plugfest community.

Plugfest Frequently Asked Questions

What is Plugfest?

The ESTA Control Protocols Plugfest is an informal event designed to allow hardware engineers and software developers an opportunity to conduct interoperability testing with other products that use ESTA control standards. It offers a chance to debug your product or prototype in a friendly “bits and bytes” focused environment, without the pressure that often occurs when encountering issues in the field. The Plugfest is run by ESTA volunteers - many of whom wrote the standards - who make themselves available to answer questions, and to provide guidance and debugging assistance.

What protocols are being tested?

Any product using an ESTA Control Protocol is welcome at the Plugfests. ACN (E1.17), RDM (E1.20), RDMnet (E1.33), DMX512 (E1.11) and sACN (E1.31) are routinely tested.

How much does it cost?

There is no event charge for attending and participating in Plugfest. The only costs are for your own travel and lodging. Attendees are encouraged (but not required) to become a member of the ESTA Control Protocols Working Group. Applications for the working group may be downloaded at Procedural Documents. There is a $100 per person per year fee. Additionally, members companies are encouraged to support the TSP efforts by joining our Investors in Innovation Program.

How do I register?

Registration is simple. To reserve space, send an email to with your intent to attend. An event volunteer will reply to your email.

Where is it located?

The Plugfest is held at the Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Solana hotel, located at 1301 Solana Blvd, Westlake, TX 76262. Once the ESTA room block for the event is released, the reservation link can be found here.

How do I book my room?

ESTA has a group room rate for the hotel that provides discounts for the hotel restaurant and Wi-Fi charges. Please book through the ESTA group room block link at ESTA's Meeting Schedule.

Why do I need to book the hotel through the ESTA group rate?

Booking rooms using the ESTA Group Rate code with Marriott helps defer the Plugfest event room costs, and provides you with a better room rate than booking directly with the hotel. Using the ESTA Group rate code also affords a discount in the hotel restaurant, and ensures access to the infamous 7th floor, where the Plugfest and ESTA Hospitality Suites are located. Complimentary drinks and snacks are available in the ESTA Hospitality Suite. To access the Plugfest Suite or the Hospitality Suite, just ask for your room key to be coded for 7th floor access at check-in.

How do I get there?

Travel is easy to the D/FW Marriott Solana. The hotel is located near the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, which provides service to 260 destinations through 26 scheduled airlines. There are complimentary shuttle buses provided by the hotel to and from the DFW Airport. To arrange transport from the airport, call the hotel and follow their instructions. Shuttles typically run round-trip to and from D/FW every half-hour.

Do I need a rental car?

Possibly. There is a full-service restaurant located in the hotel, and a few other food options with limited hours in the same complex, within walking distance of the hotel. Should you find that these options do not meet your needs, the hotel also provides complimentary shuttle service to nearby food and shopping destinations. In addition, there are generally others attending with vehicles, and who are willing to accommodate transportation for group dinners in the evenings. A rental car is not necessary, but may be useful if you desire to be able to get farther out to see the area.

Who is it for?

The Plugfest is open to all. It is primarily intended for engineers and product developers to be able to interactively debug their products. Many issues can be corrected on the spot to enable continued testing. Product Managers, Technical Support, and Dealers also regularly attend with their products. Plugfest attendees can provide feedback that can be communicated back to their product development teams. Consultants and System Integrators may find the Plugfest to be an excellent opportunity to ask technical questions.

What should I bring?

Bring yourself, your product, and anything you need to operate and debug it. For large products, you may find it's easier to just bring the PCBs and a power supply rather than the entire system. We typically have a limited amount of general-purpose test equipment available such as: oscilloscopes, voltmeters, small hand tools, DMX512 and RDM test equipment, and a managed network infrastructure. You should bring any design specific equipment such as compilers, in-circuit emulators, firmware update cables, etc.

Can I leave my stuff in the Plugfest Suite?

Yes. The Plugfest event is hosted in a secured suite, with the privacy and security of a normal hotel room. Most participants leave their equipment setup in the room so they can come and go throughout the weekend. When open, the room is always staffed by volunteers, and the adjoining sleeping rooms are occupied by Plugfest members to help keep an eye on things, after hours.

What are the hours?

Specific hours are posted on ESTA's Meeting Schedule, though there are often people in the suite each night later than the scheduled hours.

Who will be there?

Since the Plugfest is held in conjunction with the ESTA Technical Standards Program meetings, many of those that are involved in writing the standards will be in attendance. Your fellow attendees often have decades of experience developing products for the entertainment industry, and freely share their experience and knowledge in a judgment-free zone, where there are truly no “stupid questions.” Many first-time attendees have arrived with barely communicative prototypes and yet left with fully working implementations by the end of the weekend.

Can I ship stuff into the hotel?

Yes, it is possible to ship product or other gear into the hotel. Most attendees will pack and check their gear with them on the airplane, but it is possible to ship stuff to the hotel. For address details and hotel shipping instructions, email .

What kind of power is available?

The Plugfest suite has (3) 20A circuits of 120VAC / 60HZ power available for everyone to share. Be sure to bring any adapters you need for use with a standard US NEMA 5-15R 120VAC outlet. Three phase power is not available, neither are high-current circuits. For any questions or concerns on power please contact us at: .

Can you sign my Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

No. Plugfest attendees should be respectful of confidential information as a professional courtesy. Plugfest is open to anyone, so there's no promise of confidentiality in our open standards work.

Can I bring prototypes?

Absolutely! Prototypes are often the most valuable products to bring, because you can find and fix problems before the product reaches customers.

How do Standards Meetings work? Can I attend?

The meetings are open for visitors to attend. We always encourage people to join the Working Group as it allows you to keep informed on the progress and current state of all the standards and other topics that are of interest to the members. The Control Protocols Working Group (CPWG) is the formal committee where all the official votes and actions are taken on the projects we are working on. There are a number of different Task Groups - subordinate to the working group - typically one for each protocol, where the actual standard is developed and written for approval by the CPWG. Both the Task Groups and Working Groups are open to anyone with a material interest in the subject matter. Information on joining the CPWG can be found in the Working Groups section of this site. The current schedule for all the standards meetings can be found on ESTA's Meeting Schedule.

Can I hire you?

Everyone at the Plugfest is a volunteer who is giving up their weekend to help make sure ESTA's protocols work. We're passionate about the entertainment industry, and entertainment control protocols. Some Plugfest participants do offer consulting, product development, and product evaluation services, but any such engagement must be between you and that individual, and take place outside of the Plugfests or ESTA meetings and events.

Can we discuss marketing plans and prices?

No. ESTA and its members take seriously their obligation to comply with all applicable antitrust laws. Therefore, during meetings and during all ESTA events, all discussions will be limited to those subjects that are permitted by the antitrust laws of the United States. All members should refrain from any discussion or mention of competitively sensitive subjects such as the current or future prices charged for any member product or services, current or future marketing plans or strategies, and current or future costs, including employee salaries. There also must be no agreement on the suppliers or customers that members will do business with or the markets in which members will conduct business.

Violations of the antitrust laws can have serious consequences. If you have any questions or concerns about anything that is discussed at an ESTA meeting or event, please bring your concern to ESTA management. An easy-to-read pamphlet describing the antitrust laws is available from the ESTA staff.

How can I support the Plugfest?

Become a member of ESTA, participate in future Plugfests, or become an Investor in Innovation. Today you're learning from others, but next year others may be learning from you. Tell your friends and colleagues about the Plugfests and the ESTA Technical Standards Program!


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