Rococo forges Java alliance with Ericsson

29 Apr 2003

Dublin-based wireless Java infrastructure software and tools company Rococo has forged a strategic alliance with Ericsson Technology Licensing with the aim of bringing Bluetooth applications to market faster.

Under the terms of the deal, Ericsson will adapt Rococo’s Java technology to work with the Ericsson Core Bluetooth Stack and will sell Bluetooth software with Rococo Java API.

Formed by former senior executives at Iona Technologies, Rococo builds mobile collaboration software, which makes it easy for applications running on different devices such as phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and laptops to exchange information and use each others’ services. The company’s first products, Impronto DK and Impronto Simulator, enable the rapid development of Bluetooth-enabled applications in Java. As well as helping to define the new standard Java/Bluetooth API, the company also sells training and consulting services in the areas of Java and Bluetooth.

Rococo software was established in 2000 by three former senior Iona Technologies executives, Sean O’Sullivan, Karl McCabe and Ross O’Crowley.

In the past year the company has scored major contracts in the Bluetooth marketplace, most notably with Matsushita in Asia and Siemens in Germany, who will be integrating Bluetooth technology into the central communications bus in cars, to enable wireless connectivity to a car’s navigation system, radio and engine diagnostics.

The alliance with Ericsson was a major goal for the company, according to Rococo CEO Sean O’Sullivan. “We are delighted to be working with the leaders in Bluetooth,” he said. “Our goal is to make it easier for developers to build great Bluetooth applications. The integration of our standard wireless Java technology combined with Ericsson’s Bluetooth stack is very powerful and will help to usher in a new wave of compelling Bluetooth applications.”

“Rococo helped set the standard for Java and Bluetooth technology and has led the market in product innovation in this area,” said Maria Khorsand, President of Ericsson Technology Licensing. “This solution enables equipment manufacturers to take advantage of Bluetooth in their platforms by making the technology accessible through Java. We look forward to working with Rococo as a strategic partner, to continue that innovation and to strengthen both companies’ positions in their respective markets.”

In August 2001 Rococo succeeded in raising a venture capital round worth €3.1m from Trinity Venture Capital. The company has two strands to its business, product development and consultancy. After its first year in business, the company brought in more than €1m in revenues through consultancy work alone.

The Dublin-based company is working on a number of novel projects that will help change the way colleges and hospitals work. One project, in collaboration with Accenture and Microsoft, sees Rococo equipping public health nurses with PDAs, which enable them to download information from the child health information system. This has been particularly useful in the immunisation programme, which is currently in a minor crisis as parents turn away from the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) three-in-one vaccine.

The three-year-old company is also working on a project jointly sponsored by TCD and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources that will see students equipped with PDAs using the technology to get lecture updates, check their email and surf the web wirelessly. The aim is to combine Bluetooth wireless technology in association with 802.11b wireless local area network systems.

By John Kennedy