What is an Embedded System?

What is an Embedded System? As with most things in the world of software, should you foolishly ask the question 'what is an embedded system?' you will quickly find yourself at the epicentre of quite the heated discussion. In the red corner, you have the bare metal believers, opting for no OS and low power processors. In the blue corner, the followers of what are effectively PC equivalents running Linux and everything in between. If you filter out all the toing and froing, an embedded system can simply be defined as a controller that provides one, or very [...]

By |November 14th, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

Artificial, Artificial Intelligence

Artificial, Artificial Intelligence In the last entry to this Machine Learning blog series, we discussed Supervised Learning and its use of labelled training data to deduce the correct outcome. However, we didn't really point out that, in order to achieve decent levels of accuracy, these models rely heavily on access to large quantities of labelled training data. Getting your hands on suitable data of this magnitude is often quite the task in and of itself. If you get lucky you may be able to source some off-the-shelf data sets that can be moulded to suit your purpose, but [...]

By |November 11th, 2019|Blog Posts|

Looking Behind the Curtain of Machine Learning

Looking Behind the Curtain of Machine Learning In our last article, we attempted to define Machine Learning while also debunking some of the myths that have managed to pop up over time. We also made a promise to take a look at the different methods and techniques available for Machine Learning development. So, as promised, here we present the Zircon guide on approaches to Machine Learning. Anyone who has so much as dipped a toe into the realm of Machine Learning will know that Supervised and Unsupervised learning are the two most widely adopted methods. Knowing which method will [...]

By |October 24th, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

What is Machine Learning?

What is Machine Learning? The introduction of Machine Learning has been a critical step forward in the development of Artifical Intelligence (AI) systems.  As a result, it has received a lot of attention from researchers, hoping to test its full potential.  Unfortunately, it has also become a popular topic for the press, which has resulted in some miscommunication and confusion as to what Machine Learning actually is.  Today we hope to alleviate some of this confusion, as well as clarify some common misconceptions. Machine Learning is ... At its most basic level, Machine Learning is a concept [...]

By |October 21st, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

51 Months Later … Back in the Life?

51 Months Later … Back in the Life? Hello, my name is Juan and I am a software engineer at Zircon Software. The title of this post is related to my previous blog post for Zircon (Ten Months in the Life …, available on the company website). As one might expect, a lot has changed in that time, not least my academic progression from undergraduate to graduate and making my way back to Zircon. The focus of this post will be to compare my perspective from back then with the one I hold now. As a placement student at Zircon, [...]

By |October 14th, 2019|Blog Posts|

The Steady Decline of Computing Education in the UK

The Steady Decline of Computing Education in the UK As you may recall from our previous article discussing the UK's distinct lack of engineers, there is a growing concern regarding the growing gap in vital technical skills.  Of course, an obvious step in finding a solution is to focus on the training of the next generation of engineers, yet it seems that the UK isn't fairing too well on that front either. Where Have All The Teachers Gone? With the number of students entering into education on the rise, the need for skilled teaching [...]

By |September 30th, 2019|Blog Posts|

How to Scale Engineers on a project – Zircon’s Top 5

How to Scale Engineers on a project - Zircon's Top 5 In my previous blog I examined how, like Cloud computing, working with Zircon allows for scalability.  Now, as promised, here is our Top 5 on the subject. Our retrospectives (regular team feedback sessions) have a section specially designed to answer this question: “How would we improve the information and resources available to the project such that a new team member would be able to hit the ground running?”  While this is continually evolving for our teams, we’ve learned key lessons. Here are the current [...]

By |September 20th, 2019|Blog Posts|

It’s Project Induction, but with Scalability as it’s Kernel.

It's Project Induction, but with Scalability as it's Kernel.  In a recent conversation with a client they told me, "Zircon is like Cloud computing, we can scale up and down with you as and when needed.  In our case, we needed several months help getting our product to market and Zircon was able to provide the help we needed. If we'd have gone in house it would have meant hiring and training a specialised team for a period of less than a year and that wasn't on the cards for us." I responded to say that project induction is [...]

By |August 23rd, 2019|Blog Posts|

Please Take Care to Mind the Skill Gap

Please Take Care to Mind the Skill Gap A while back, when Brexit was in its early stages, we posted an article to the Zircon blog questioning how a leave vote could impact those working in the technology industry. During the research for this article, we came across several reports expressing concern over a growing gap in the skills of local workers, and how the decision of many companies to offshore their development has given rise to a phenomenon known as the 'Brain Drain'. Several years later, and as with Brexit, it seems that a solution to this [...]

By |August 16th, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

Should we be Looking to the Clouds?

Should we be Looking to the Clouds? If you keep an eye on the Zircon blog, you may have noticed that for the last couple of months there has been a common theme connecting each new article. That theme of course, has been cloud computing. Since the beginning of June, we have heard from a few of our engineers as they share their experiences and knowledge of topics such as Scalability, Microservice Architecture, and the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) model. Now as we bring this series to a close, we would like to share a [...]

By |July 23rd, 2019|Blog Posts|

Service-Oriented Architecture and the Enterprise Service Bus Model

Service-Oriented Architecture and the Enterprise Service Bus Model With any service-oriented solution, there is a certain challenge to configuring a setup that scales well with workload. Implementing an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) model helps to alleviate the difficulties in doing such, by allowing any connected application to act as a service provider. An Enterprise Service Bus model is a model in which any of the connected applications can be assigned a server or client role, in turns, allowing for full utilisation of all connected devices for the current problem being solved. The ESB model promotes agility and flexibility [...]

By |July 18th, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

Cloud Scalability – How Can it be Achieved?

Cloud Scalability - How Can it be Achieved? In my previous blog, I discussed Microservice Architecture, which is one way that we can build scalable applications for the Cloud. In this article, I’ll be discussing some of the services and features available in Cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), that allow you to scale Services and Resources. Scaling Methods One of the advantages of Cloud services is the ability to scale depending on demand. For Compute resources such as Virtual Machines (VMs), this can be achieved by [...]

By |July 15th, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

Behind the Cloud – Summarising Microservice Architecture

Behind the Cloud - Summarising Microservice Architecture This month all of our social media activity has focused around a single topic, and that is the cloud. Last week on the blog we shared a brief introduction into the world of cloud computing, this week Nick, our in-house expert on cloud technologies, has put together a nice summary of the Micro-service Architecture that helps us build scalable applications for the cloud. Over the last 10 years, there has been a significant change in the way that we consume Applications, and the value attached to these [...]

By |June 25th, 2019|Articles, Blog Posts|

May We Introduce You to Cloud Computing

May We Introduce You to Cloud Computing To those unfamiliar with the tech world, the idea of the cloud or cloud computing is truly mind boggling. In reality there isn't anything particularly spectacular about the cloud, and in this addition to the Zircon blog we will try and bring the concept out of the homoshpere and a bit closer to earth. So What is Cloud Computing? In the simplest of terms, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the internet, typically on a pay for use basis. These services include access to [...]

By |June 14th, 2019|Blog Posts|

Zircon Supports Armed Forces Day 2019

Zircon Supports Armed Forces Day 2019 Armed Forces Day 2019 is rapidly approaching, and Zircon is pleased to announce that we are proud supporters of this year's National Event. Hosted in Salisbury and running over the course of three days, 28th to 30th June, it is anticipated that this year will be the biggest Armed Forces Day National Event to be delivered in the UK to date. We are honoured to be a part of this prestigious event, and to be a part of the commemoration of all those men and women who serve and [...]

By |May 30th, 2019|Blog Posts, Company News|