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CEA Partners With CE Interactive On Consumer Support Platform

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has formed a strategic partnership with CE Interactive (CEI), a software and services company based here that has developed a program to assist consumers with the proper setup and operation of their CE products.

The Web-based application, which debuted a year ago at the 2006 International CES, was developed to help CE retailers, manufacturers and service providers reduce product returns, increase accessory attachment rates and improve the customer experience.

CEA has made a strategic investment in the start-up, which was founded by industry veteran and entrepreneur Dean Summers. Summers previously founded and operated Partsearch Technologies, the outsourced parts management company.

“We are excited to have CEA as an investor and strategic partner,” said Summers, CEO of CEI. “Innovation in services has not kept pace with product innovation, and this alliance is representative of a strong commitment from CEA to provide the best possible customer experience before, during and after the sale.”

Under the partnership, CEA will help obtain OEM data, technical resources and will promote the CEI platform to CEA member companies as an industry solution.

“Our partnership with CE Interactive represents our commitment to support the industry with initiatives that enhance the customer’s consumer electronics experience,’ said Todd Thibodeaux, CEA’s industry relations senior VP. “The CEI platform directly supports several CEA member initiatives, such as simplifying connectivity, reducing returns and providing consumer education.”

CEI’s Virtuoso application utilizes OEM product attributes to identify specific cables and peripherals required to set up components, and a brand- and model-specific connectivity roadmap to ensure proper system setup. The program also shows consumers how to properly operate the products, all based on the specific brands and product models entered into the application. The system is designed to reduce no-fault-found product returns, ensure correct accessory bundling, simplify connectivity, increase attachment rates, collect intelligent data for targeted marketing initiatives, improve the customer experience and increase customer loyalty, CEI said.