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Set Sail: Supporting timely and efficient customer care with highly reliable AI chatbots

About Set Sail

Founded in 2015, Set Sail is a SaaS provider based in Hong Kong specializing in artificial intelligence-powered solutions for enterprises to automate customer services and sales generation workflows across multiple channels. Its omni-channel contact center solutions currently serve 100 enterprises and 300 SMEs across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

Industries: Technology
Location: Hong Kong

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To offer highly reliable automated customer service solutions, Set Sail leverages Google Cloud to realize excellent service availability while reducing operations workloads and facilitating product development.

Google Cloud results

  • Eliminates service disruptions caused by traffic surges with GKE
  • Prevents cyberattacks through automatic application of security patches
  • Reduces operational workloads and deployment costs with Cloud Run and Cloud Functions
  • Simplifies development processes with Cloud Build and gcloud CLI

Realizes 99.95% service availability

Companies around the world are increasingly relying on technology to provide more efficient and effective customer service. As consumers can now reach out through multiple channels ranging from emails, websites to social media platforms, companies are constantly looking for an all-inclusive automated conversation solution that can timely respond to customers’ inquiries and identify potential sales leads.

Set Sail and Chatalog offer intelligent contact center solutions across various channels to support fully automated customer service, conversational marketing and online transactions. Founded in 2015, the Hong Kong-based startup is on a mission to help brands optimize customer engagement with its highly accurate natural language processing technology for Chinese, Cantonese, and Chinese-English capabilities. Its omni-channel intelligent contact center agents currently serve 100 enterprises and 300 SMEs across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

"Companies and organizations are receiving an enormous amount of messages by emails, social media, chat apps and websites every day, which makes managing customer relationships challenging," says Jovian Ling, co-founder of Set Sail. "Our intelligent solutions are designed to help enterprises provide customer service effectively and efficiently by automating conversations and sales generation workflows."

Since Set Sail’s customers come from different industries, the amount of the inquiries they receive can vary significantly, with spikes in traffic that are often difficult to predict. To ensure the reliability of its services, the Set Sail team knew from day one that it needed an easily scalable IT infrastructure to deploy its intelligent contact center solutions. At the same time, the startup had a small DevOps team of 20 and wanted to minimize operations workloads. In 2016, it turned to Google Cloud for product development and deployment. In particular, the company leveraged Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for its high scalability to support the varying traffic volume it receives.

"Our priority is to guarantee that our enterprise customers are able to provide timely customer service whenever it’s needed," explains Ling. "The powerful scaling capability of Google Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud can help us easily deliver highly reliable services with minimum resources invested in operations."

"Our priority is to guarantee that our enterprise customers are able to provide timely customer service whenever it’s needed. The powerful scaling capability of Google Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud can help us easily deliver highly reliable services with minimum resources invested in operations."

Jovian Ling, Co-Founder, Set Sail

Supporting highly available and secure service with GKE

Set Sail now leverages clusters on GKE to run the artificial intelligence (AI) engine and workflow manager of its intelligent contact center services. This supports the fluctuating computing resources required, based on the number of inquiries that come through the platform. For example, transport companies may receive up to 20X more inquiries in their system during peak road traffic hours. This is where the auto scaling capabilities of GKE can help Set Sail effortlessly ensure that there are always sufficient computing resources to support its AI chatbot services.

"The auto scaling capability of Google Kubernetes Engine is key to the reliability of our services, because it enables us to handle any level of traffic surges at any time without manually adding computing resources," notes Sunny Wong, co-founder of Set Sail. "We’ve never experienced any downtime caused by high traffic and have successfully realized 99.95% service availability."

On top of that, GKE automatically applies security patches to the clusters of Set Sail, which means that the startup can rest assured that its services are protected from cyberattacks without implementing security measures by itself. Since the adoption of Google Cloud, Set Sail’s contact center software has never been disrupted by hacking activities.

"The auto scaling capability of Google Kubernetes Engine is key to the reliability of our services, because we’re able to handle any level of traffic surges at any time without manually adding computing resources. We’ve never experienced any downtime caused by high traffic and have successfully realized 99.95% service availability."

Sunny Wong, Co-Founder, Set Sail

Reducing operational costs with serverless architectures

Besides the automated features of GKE, the serverless computing environments supported by Google Cloud have helped Set Sail reduce its operational workloads. By deploying products that are less computationally expensive, such as live chat servers and weather applications on Cloud Run and Cloud Functions, Set Sail is able to reduce operations workloads, because no server management is required. This means that most of the startup’s DevOps engineers can focus on product development, instead of daily operations and maintenance.

Furthermore, using Cloud Run and Cloud Functions to run applications translates into lower IT infrastructure costs, as these two products offer more cost-effective computing resources than GKE. Wong says that together with the labor costs saved from employing serverless architecture, Set Sail is able to reduce its operational costs by $100,000 per year.

"The abundant options of computing environments offered by Google Cloud are very beneficial to us. We can flexibly choose the most ideal tool to deploy our different services without worrying about compatibility, because all Google Cloud products can integrate with each other seamlessly," he adds.

Simplifying development processes with Cloud Build and gcloud CLI

Another major advantage that Google Cloud has brought to Set Sail is the enhanced productivity driven by automation. The startup’s DevOps team has established efficient CI/CD processes (a series of steps to take source codes into production in app development) by employing Cloud Build, which can automatically build Set Sail’s services across different computing environments like GKE, Cloud Run and Cloud Functions. Besides, with Google Cloud Command Line Interface (gcloud CLI), the Set Sail team is able to easily automate the operation and management of its cloud resources via codes and scripts.

"Cloud Build and gcloud CLI have significantly facilitated our development process through automation, which enables us to develop more product features in a more efficient way," notes Wong. "Without these tools, we would have required 15% more workforce for the same workload."

"Thanks to Google Cloud, we’ve successfully built highly reliable products in the most efficient and cost-effective way. We’re confident that we can continue improving our service and work efficiency while serving more customers with the support of Google Cloud."

Jovian Ling, Co-Founder, Set Sail

Facilitating hybrid cloud management and market expansion

Next, Set Sail will use Anthos to manage its Kubernetes clusters in hybrid cloud environments. Some of Set Sail’s customers request the intelligent contact center service to be deployed in private cloud for compliance reasons, but currently the clusters in private cloud are deployed and managed separately from the ones on Google Cloud without automation functionalities. With Anthos, the Set Sail team will be able to deploy new services in private and public cloud at the same time leverage the automation functionalities of Google Cloud to manage its services in private cloud. The startup will also take advantage of the extensive global network of Google Cloud to expand into new markets in Southeast Asia.

Ling says, "Thanks to Google Cloud, we’ve successfully built highly reliable products in the most efficient and cost-effective way. We’re confident that we can continue improving our services and work efficiency while serving more customers with the support of Google Cloud."

If you are interested to learn more, you can contact Set Sail team.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Set Sail

Founded in 2015, Set Sail is a SaaS provider based in Hong Kong specializing in artificial intelligence-powered solutions for enterprises to automate customer services and sales generation workflows across multiple channels. Its omni-channel contact center solutions currently serve 100 enterprises and 300 SMEs across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

Industries: Technology
Location: Hong Kong