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What if quantum technology could solve the world’s biggest challenges?

Julian van Velzen

We are truly moving the dial from science fiction to science fact, as we enter a new era of tech-led innovation encompassing AI, 5G, AR & VR, Edge computing, and more. As explained by our Chief Innovation Officer Pascal Brier, in his latest blog post, innovation has to be strategically prioritized and managed, with a focus on applied research and use case development.

I believe that quantum technologies in particular have the potential to change how we solve some of our biggest business and societal challenges. The true impact of quantum will only become clear during the next decade, but smart business leaders are experimenting now – and that’s where we come in.

I’ve been working on quantum technology at Capgemini for three years with all kinds of research-led activities, whether that’s delivering data-led insights in the UK and India or analyzing quantum communications in Portugal.

Moving from quantum theory to practical applications

As a result, we’ve developed a pioneering view on the use of quantum applications. We’re now moving to the next stage to demonstrate the power of quantum in the real world. We’re bringing all our global knowledge together in our virtual Quantum Lab (Q-Lab), a dedicated initiative drawing on the expertise of our scientific researchers and trusted partners to explore the potential of quantum technologies for our clients.

Our Q-Lab bridges the gap between theoretical research and its application to real-world challenges. Our experts are working on a range of research projects, learning from each other and collaborating with our sector teams to identify use cases where quantum technologies are likely to have the biggest impact – life sciences, financial services, automotive, and aerospace.

A resource such as Q-Lab is crucial for business leaders who want to make sense of quantum technologies. Business leaders are aware of the benefits that this next generation of computation can bring, but they’re also concerned by the complexity of this fast-evolving area of technology. Estimates suggest as many as 40% of large enterprises will have quantum computing initiatives underway by 2025.

However, quantum technology requires deep knowledge in physics at lower levels of the stack. Higher up the stack, it requires mathematics, computer science, and artificial intelligence capabilities – a range of skills that many businesses struggle to find. An advantage of our Quantum – Lab is that it attracts ambitious talent from universities and research institutions, eager to see a practical application to the theory learned.

What’s more, making the most of quantum isn’t just a technological conundrum. Spending on quantum computing is expected to reach USD3.7bn by 2030, a 25% annual increase from today. Businesses will be desperate to turn this investment into a competitive advantage.

Understanding quantum technologies takes many forms

Business and governments need to get quantum right, because there will be plenty of both opportunities and threats. Understanding the power of quantum will be essential during the coming decade. We believe our Q-Lab will have a key role to play in educating, experimenting, and reassuring organizations as they progress along the quantum journey.

Our experts are already collaborating with clients on several use cases, investigating complex business problems, carrying out in-lab research, and developing protypes and proof-of-concept studies that show the critical role quantum will play in shaping all our futures. We focus on three crucial areas of quantum technology:

  • Quantum computing– using quantum properties and algorithms to perform computations exponentially faster than classical supercomputers, with companies relying on heavy compute facilities most likely to benefit, including molecular design within life science, fluid dynamics in aerospace, and stochastic financial models.
  • Quantum communications – the quantum internet could become a secure communications network and have a profound impact on areas critical to science, industry, and national security.
  • Quantum sensing– providing new data and accuracy that classical sensors cannot provide, leading to advances in medical diagnosis, autonomous transport, and intelligent industries.

Quantum might be at a nascent stage of development, but its potential will bloom with new use cases ever year. Together with IBM and an ecosystem of partners, we are starting to demonstrate how quantum applications can and will move from the lab to the business. This proactive approach to quantum is identifying the game-changing potential of this complex and awe-inspiring technology over the next decade.

Quantum is too big and complex to “go it alone”; it requires a team-based approach. In my next blog, I will look at the importance of the wider ecosystem of partners that bring a range of critical and complementary skills.