Equipment industry group says education, not legislation, needed on right to repair issue

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Nearly every piece of equipment or machinery we use is powered by electronics and proprietary software. While electronics allows for many things — precision and variable rate applications, mapping and data collection, and even remote trouble shooting — it also creates a barrier to being able to fix something when something goes awry.

Eric Wareham, Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA), says that right to repair is somewhat of a misnomer, as it’s more about access to after-market tools, documents, or firmware, than about a right.

“You always have a right to repair, but not to modify,” Wareham says, which is where the equipment manufacturers and advocates of right to repair diverge on opinion.

The concern is, from the manufacturers’ side, opening up firmware and allowing access to proprietary software, opens up the opportunity for pirating, and possibly emissions tampering.

Wareham notes a lack of dependable cellular networks across rural Canada complicates the issue further, as the advantage of remote sensing, trouble-shooting, and virtual repair is lost when technicians can’t reliably connect with equipment.

For those curious about the issue and remote trouble-shooting, Wareham says that, as an industry, equipment manufacturers are focusing on education, not legislation, and plan to host educational dealer days at select locations this summer.

Listen to the full interview between RealAgriculture’s Lyndsey Smith and WEDA’s Eric Wareham below.

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