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Four reasons why your organization should invest in quantum technologies

Amol Khadikar
27 Sep 2022

Are you wondering whether you should be investing in quantum? For leading tech executives, this is a no-brainer.

While quantum technologies have been around for a few decades, the latest developments – which actively use quantum properties of subatomic particles – are nothing short of spectacular. Much like, say, the internet in the late 1980s, commercial quantum applications are still in their infancy; however, mass adoption could be closer than you imagine.

The latest advances promise an exponential speed-up over the best available supercomputers (via quantum computing), tap-proof communications (via quantum-secure communications), and ultra-precise measurements (via quantum sensing). These recent breakthroughs mean that commercial adoption may occur before the end of the 2020s. Our recent research into quantum technologies[1], Quantum Technologies; How to prepare your organization for a quantum advantage nowconfirms this. Learnings from this research uncover four broad imperatives for organizations to invest in quantum technologies as soon as possible:

  1. Quantum technologies promise significant performance gain for specific applications. Quantum advantage – the ability to drive significantly improved performance vis-à-vis classical systems – is closer than ever before to becoming a reality. In 2021, Goldman Sachs predicted that quantum computing could begin to yield quantum advantage in practical financial applications within the next five years.[2] In recent years, a number of organizations have moved quickly to take advantage of emerging possibilities:
    1. Airbus set up a quantum technology applications center in 2018 to work on a set of problems in the field.[3] In 2019, it collaborated with experts around the world to solve a five-problem quantum challenge around flight physics.[4]
    2. JP Morgan used a hybrid classical-quantum approach to determine the optimum portfolio balance of financial assets, which it claims can be scaled to work with portfolios of any size.[5]
    3. Pharma major GSK is exploring how quantum optimization approaches could scale in the future in the area of drug development.[6]

It is worth noting that quantum technologies will yield an advantage in very specific application areas and will require extensive experimentation and trials. Finding these applications will take time and availability of skills, which are in short supply as of now.[7]

  1. Organizations have begun experimenting with quantum – including your competitors. Our research on quantum technologies found that about one in four organizations (23%) is either working or planning to work on quantum technologies in the near future. Most of these organizations come from China (43%) and the Netherlands (42%); however, early adopters exist in all geographies we surveyed. André König, Managing Partner at Entanglement Capital, a venture capital firm focused on quantum technologies, told us, “Any company that does not start this journey today is a company that is at severe risk of losing any sort of meaningful position within its industry in the next 5–10 years.” 
  1. Rapidly expanding investment in quantum tech. Our research also found that organizations are committing greater funds to quantum tech: 20% of all organizations and 85% of those working or planning to work with quantum expect to increase investments in the next year. In 2021, quantum startups raised over $800 million in venture funding – an increase of more than 70% since 2020.[8] Governments aren’t lagging behind, either – in August 2020, the US government announced an investment of over $600 million in quantum tech.[9] France has pledged €1.8 billion ($1.83 billion) for quantum technologies, whereas the UK has announced plans to invest £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in becoming a frontrunner in quantum technologies.[10]
  1. Breakthrough advances in quantum technologies are accelerating. In the first half of 2022, several major breakthroughs have significantly accelerated the development of quantum tech. IBM, one of the leading providers of access to quantum hardware, is reportedly less than a year away from introducing the world’s first universal quantum computer with a capacity of over 1,000 qubits – a significant increase over its current hardware with 127 qubits.[11] Researchers from Austria and Germany have, for the first time, demonstrated a set of computational operations on two logical quantum bits in such a way that errors caused by underlying physical operations can be detected and corrected – making error-free quantum computation possible for all applications and removing a key barrier to the adoption of quantum algorithms.[12] Nadia Haider, Lead Applied Electromagnetic Scientist at QuTech, says, “Our ability to really work with this technology has exponentially increased. There is more trust that this is not only useful for fundamental research, but we can bring it to real applications.”

In the quantum communications space, researchers at TU Delft recently successfully demonstrated a technique called quantum teleportation to send data across three physical locations (an operation previously only possible with two locations).[13] These linkages can enable data transfer without the data being lost or tapped into. The idea is to scale these connections to create a network linking an increasingly large number of sites – effectively creating a quantum internet. Even compared with the current state-of-the-art quantum key distribution (QKD) technology, this would advance quantum communication to a whole new dimension.

The case to invest in quantum technologies has never been stronger. This could be the time to harness quantum advantage and gain a competitive edge.

[1] Capgemini Research Institute, Quantum Technologies: How to prepare your organization for a quantum advantage now, March 2022. For this research, we surveyed over 200 R&D and innovation executives from global organizations and conducted in-depth interviews with over 30 world-renowned experts on quantum tech.

[2] Financial Times, “Goldman Sachs predicts quantum computing 5 years away from use in markets,” April 2021.

[3] Aviation Today, “OpenQKD fuels European quantum computing research potential in Aerospace,” December 2, 2019.

[4] WSJ, “Airbus CTO sees quantum computing taking off in aerospace industry,” January 23, 2019.

[5] The Quantum Insider, “JP Morgan Chase Bank research team brings portfolio optimization a step closer in NISQ era,” November 1, 2021.

[6] The Next Platform, “GlaxoSmithKline marks quantum progress with D-Wave,” February 24, 2021.

[7] ZDNet, “Quantum computing skills are hard to find. Here’s how companies are tackling the shortage,” November 2021.

[8] Crunchbase, “Quantum technology gains momentum as computing gets closer to reality,” May 2022.

[9] The Verge, “US announces $1 billion research push for AI and quantum computing,” August 2020.

[10], “€1.8 billion in funding for quantum technologies,” January 2021; Gov.UK, “£1 billion investment makes UK a frontrunner in quantum technologies,” June 2019.

[11] IBM, “IBM unveils new roadmap to practical quantum computing era; plans to deliver 4,000+ qubit system,” May 2022.

[12], “Error-free quantum computing gets real,” May 2022.

[13] The New York Times, “‘Quantum Internet’ inches closer with advance in data teleportation,” May 2022.

Amol Khadikar

Expert in Digital Transformation, Innovation, Strategy