Airport operators and regulators worldwide on Thursday published a paper in support of seeking open architectures for airport security systems to improve interoperability, enable innovation and expand competition.

The paper was endorsed by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which reviewed a draft in the spring and contributed to the foreword.

“Through this initiative we commit to working with our partners to open our hardware and in doing so, broaden the market and safely provide new entry paths for collaborators, TSA Administrator David Pekoske, John Holland-Kaye, CEO of London’s Heathrow Airport, and Olivier Jankovec, director general of Airports Council International Europe, wrote in the foreword. “Today, we welcome a new class of partner; tomorrows software developers to join us in the development and delivery of world leading threat detection software and help us defeat terrorism.”

TSA has made mention of open architectures previously but little has been accomplished. The security detection industry has never wholeheartedly embraced the concept and their cooperation will be necessary for it to succeed.

The new paper, Open Architecture for Airport Security Systems, was prepared by Heathrow and Avinor AS, a state-owned company under Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communications responsible for 44 state-owned airports.

The initiative outlines seven areas of interest, at least one of which—algorithms—could open opportunities for customers like TSA to purchase capabilities provided by third party developers for installation on systems provided by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Algorithms being used in imaging dives such as computed tomography, two-dimensional, and body scanners are “pertinent to open architecture,” the paper says, noting that such algorithms could be provided by third party developers instead of device manufacturers for use on hardware. It also says being able to switch between algorithms is a desired capability.

“The ability to dynamically switch from one detection algorithm to another is highly desirable to enable the detection of different threats and items of interest to other agencies, e.g., for the detection of drugs, currency and wildlife,” the paper says. “For example, the X-ray machine must be capable of running a 3rd part weapons detection algorithm concurrently with the OEM explosive detection algorithm. The combined result then being sent to the ATRS for tray diversion as required.”

The ATRS refers to automatic tray return system, which in the U.S. is called Automated Security Lane and features the automated diversion of a suspect carry-on bag to a separate set of rollers away from travelers where it can be safely inspected by a security officer.

The types of security equipment outlined in the paper for open architecture enhancements include baggage scanners, body scanners, ATRS/ASLs, walk-through metal detectors, shoe explosive detection systems, explosive trace detectors, common viewing stations, and other technology such as CCTV cameras, optical trace detection and liquid explosive detection systems.

Other areas of interest included in the initiative include standardized data sharing, the ability of airports and regulators to be able to freely retrieve data from security systems, user administration, cyber security and accountability.

For accountability, airports and regulators say that vendors and 3rd party providers need to be held accountable for changes to devices.