Open software architecture points the way forward

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The importance of open architecture has long been recognised in many industries. This is because it points a clear path towards higher levels of flexibility, innovation and cooperation. When it comes to software and technology, solutions designed with open architecture are built with interfaces and protocols that are made publicly available. This facilitates upgrades and opens the door to new operational opportunities.

In recent years, the aviation industry has become increasingly interested in the concept, and most specifically within the area of airport security. However, is open architecture realistic in an environment where safety and security are of the utmost importance?

Author

Maxime Gauthier

Product Manager

Future-proof and flexible

For many airports, choosing solutions based on open platforms is not only realistic, but a requirement. Although open architecture is a recent buzzword, it isn’t a new concept in the aviation industry.

Various airport operators already consider it to be a prerequisite when implementing solutions such as security checkpoints. The performance of a checkpoint depends on the efficiency of each of its components, and on their capability to function seamlessly as a whole. By integrating third-party software, hardware and algorithms based on industry standards, open architecture allows suppliers and stakeholders to work collaboratively towards a seamless end-to-end passenger journey.

In addition, each organisation has to take into consideration various physical constraints, such as the availability of space. They also have to ensure that their security solutions meet all regulatory requirements, wherever they operate. To improve the passenger experience and security as a whole, industry members must work in an area where innovation and security regulation come together.

Open architecture allows airports to select the best hardware and software solutions for each step of the security screening process, while being confident with the overall solution. It also helps keep the door open for the future integration of new technologies. On the other hand, airports opting for such an approach should be aware of the complexities involved to ensure that the intellectual property and development efforts of their various suppliers are being considered.

Maximum efficiency

As an integration specialist, all Vanderlande’s security checkpoint solutions are based on an open architecture concept. Within this, both our multiplex screening software and automated screening lanes have been designed with an open platform.

We believe that airports should have the ability to select the pieces of equipment that suit their needs at every step, and open architecture allows for the checkpoint to achieve maximum efficiency. And although our solutions have the intrinsic capability to integrate with third-party technologies, we still work closely with major industry suppliers to ensure a smooth process for airports.

To be successful, all parties involved in a checkpoint design project should be aligned around a clear scope of work. Often, this can be made possible through development contracts in order to define roles and responsibilities, safeguard the technology and manage the expectations and objectives of such an integration project.

Mitigating risk

Of course, the use of open architecture at security checkpoints comes with important technical and regulatory considerations. Governmental authorities and global aviation associations have started to take a closer look at this topic – and the integration of third-party applications – to develop testing, compliance and certification standards. Although there is a long way to go before such procedures and regulations are defined and implemented, they will certainly help mitigate the risks associated with open architecture applications, while providing airports with clear guidelines.

For security equipment manufacturers and suppliers, the prospect of adapting their solutions to meet evolving requirements should not be taken lightly. Such a shift in the approach to checkpoint design raises questions relating to technology ownership, intellectual property and cybersecurity. All of these issues should be addressed when considering open architecture solutions.

At all times, airport stakeholders and suppliers must work together to adapt to changing legislation and provide a seamless journey for passengers. Considering the significant benefits of open architecture, it’s safe to assume that the concept is more than a buzzword and definitely here to stay. Indeed, it points the way forward.

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Open software architecture points the way forward

In recent years, the aviation industry has become increasingly interested in the concept of open software architecture, and most specifically within the area of airport security. However, is open architecture realistic in an environment where safety and security are of the utmost importance?

Continue reading