sammy the sailing chatbot
sammy the sailing chatbot

Sammy the Sailing Chatbot

SINGAPORE, 18 June, 2018 – The Singapore Sailing Federation, the National Sports Association overseeing the sport of sailing, has launched the world’s first AI-powered sailing chatbot to deliver real-time wind and weather readings to regatta participants at the 2018 Singapore National Sailing Championship.

Sammy the Sailing Bot (“Sammy”) is available on Facebook Messenger and gives youth sailors and their parents real-time readings from the weather station at the National Sailing Centre (1500 East Coast Parkway) via data.gov.sg‘s API.

The five-day regatta is the largest multi-class regatta in the local sailing calendar. It saw 269 youth sailors from six countries compete with each other. During the championship, 273 chatbot users exchanged over 23,000 messages with Sammy, clocking over 153,000 seconds (42 hours) of chat time.

“Wind conditions have a big impact on the quality of racing during a regatta. With Sammy, it’s like having your own personal wind anemometer in your pocket, available 24/7 on your phone. Over the last five days, Sammy exchanged with its users over 7,000 messages related to wind and weather alone,”  said Peiming Chung, General Manager.

Besides relating wind readings, Sammy the Sailing Bot leveraged Google’s AI platform Dialogflow for machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP). This allowed Sammy to provide answers to frequently asked questions about the regatta schedule, notice of race and sailing instructions. Sammy was also used to broadcast event announcements and end of day race results, share photos and solicit feedback from participants and parents.

The chatbot was built by the Federation’s 19-year-old intern Samantha Yom. A sailor herself, Samantha became Singapore’s first Youth Olympic Games gold medallist when she took the Girls’ Byte CII title at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.

“My experience as a sailor means I can better understand the needs of the sailing community, and Sammy was developed to cater to these needs. For example, being able to get wind, weather and regatta information on demand is useful because it helps sailors anticipate the racing conditions at sea, making them better prepared for their races. It’s also useful in planning training sessions,” explained Samantha Yom.

Built on Chatfuel, a popular bot building platform, Sammy the Sailing Bot features powerful integrations with enterprise tools such as Dialogflow, Janis, Integromat and Dashbot analytics to deliver an exceptional conversational experience.

With Janis, team members are alerted via Slack whenever negative sentiment is detected or help is requested, allowing for a human to pause the chatbot and continue the conversation with the user. The chatbot also integrates with the Federation’s CRM and email marketing platforms via Integromat’s advanced marketing automation tools.

Commenting on her experience building the chatbot, Samantha said,  “The chatbot took over a month to build. While I had no prior coding experience, I had help from Abhilash Murthy, creator of SG Bus Uncle, and other members of the chatbot community. The amazing thing about the chatbot builder community is everyone’s willingness to share their knowledge. I was able to leverage the expertise of more experienced chatbot builders at Janis and Integromat to help build Sammy the Sailing Bot.”

“It was through the chatbot builder community that I learnt about how users behave when using the chatbot, which gave me the opportunity to anticipate some of their responses. For example, I learnt the importance of giving my chatbot a personality. I also learnt that users will often type free response text and not click buttons shown.”

In the post-event feedback, 97% of respondents indicated they wanted to keep the chatbot for the next regatta. Sammy also achieved a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 89%.

“The Federation runs six local regattas a year and plans to continue using Sammy during these events,” said Deborah Kay, the Federation’s Head of Digital Transformation. “With Sammy, we have the capability to deliver real time, personalised, one-to-one communication with all our sailors and parents simultaneously. This level of engagement is not currently feasible with the human resources we have.”

“In the past, we relied solely on email to communicate with sailors and parents. However, 40-50% of emails were not opened, and important event announcements were missed. With the chatbot, we see 100% open rates and 70-80% click-through rates on our broadcasts.”

“Moreover, by looking at the chat logs, we are able to get a better sense of what parents and sailors want during a regatta. For example, parents want more real time alerts and broadcasts, such as when sailors launch and recover or when a Category 1 storm warning is issued. We will be incorporating these insights into our next regatta to deliver a better experience to all participants,” concluded Deborah Kay.

The chatbot is one of many new initiatives being introduced by the Singapore Sailing Federation as part of its digital transformation, which seeks to harness technology to better serve the sailing community. The digital transformation roadmap includes initiatives to build the organisational capabilities around analytics, automation and artificial intelligence.

About Chatfuel

Chatfuel is the leading code-free platform for making AI bots on Facebook Messenger. For more information, visit https://chatfuel.com.

About Dialogflow

Dialogflow is a Google-owned developer of human–computer interaction technologies based on natural language conversations. For more information, visit https://dialogflow.com.

About Janis

Janis is an AI assistant that helps businesses better manage their conversational experiences across messaging platforms. Janis makes it easier for businesses to train AI and monitor bots for problems and helps quickly resolve and prevent business-impacting incidents. It takes mere minutes to connect Janis to industry-leading tools bot makers already use, including Dialogflow, Chatfuel, Facebook and Slack, and better manage a path to messaging automation. For more information, visit https://www.janis.ai.

About Integromat

Integromat is one of the world’s most advanced online automation platforms and is an easy to use, powerful tool with unique features for automating manual processes. Put simply, it lets you connect anything and automate everything using a simple visual interface and without the need to write any code. For more information, visit https://integromat.com.

About Dashbot

Dashbot is a bot analytics platform for conversational interfaces such as Facebook Messenger that enables developers to increase engagement, acquisition and retention through actionable data. For more information, visit https://dashbot.io.

For further enquiries, please contact Deborah Kay deborah@singaporesailing.org.sg.

©2016 Singapore Sailing Federation
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