System Architecture at Speechmatics

Date: Monday, November 5th, 2018

System architecture can mean so many things when it comes to software, especially in a fast-paced industry like speech technology.

So, what is it like being a System Architect for Speechmatics? My goal is to reliably deliver world-class Automatic Speech Recognition technology that runs efficiently on everything from small devices in meeting rooms, partner appliances in broadcast studios, VMs of any size in clouds or customer premises, to fully auto-scaling Kubernetes clusters in public and private clouds.

With that comes a number of challenges that we need to overcome. For instance, it must be easy to update each deployment as new features and improvements are made, and they must run continually with almost no maintenance whether customer-hosted or operated as a service. Consistent telemetry collection and automated licensing and billing support is needed for scenarios ranging from multi-geo SaaS to dark sites that have no Internet access.

Wise design choices, prudent technology selection, and diligent automation of everything possible are key to keeping the codebase small and healthy while being flexible enough to cover many scenarios.

As for Speechmatics itself, our team in Cambridge is mid-way through building a new API and hosting infrastructure with supporting cloud services, grounded on container-based micro-services that are portable between operating environments. We have a low-key engineering approach that allows all team members to be involved in system and component design, and influence technology selection (often from the Kubernetes/CNCF stack). We like trying new technologies but have enough experience to be wary of things that are likely to cause grief.

As a company, we strive to simplify our approach at every level, from adjusting the pricing model in order to reduce complexity in our licensing and billing systems, to refreshing our CI/CD stack to streamline developer tasks and enable people to move between teams and technology areas. Work days start and end at a decent time, email is light, and meetings are few!

Andrew Innes, System Architect

Interested in joining our team? Find out more on our careers page.

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