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This paper motivates the use of the intelligent SW agent and multi-agent system (MAS) paradigms for asset management applications in manufacturing plants. A proposed layered reference model that has been used with success previously to compare various research approaches and systems in the area of MAS for plant asset management is evaluated with respect to its fit with the recent ISO 13374 standard prescribing a high-level system architecture for condition monitoring systems. It is shown that both reference models are compatible and complement each other well. An example is given for representing ISO 13374 compliant messages in an inter-agent dialog using the FIPA agent communication language.