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Quantum Tech 2022: A Stampede of Unicorns Is Headed for Your Industry

Technologies based on the fundamental properties of quantum mechanics will revolutionize industries, changing business models forever. The European Quantum Industry Consortium (QuIC) is developing its Quantum Strategic Industry Roadmap, which nets out the promises of quantum computing, quantum communications, quantum sensing, and enabling technologies, spotlighting which industries could benefit most.

“Industries are central to our number one objective to establish a thriving commercial quantum ecosystem,” said Laure Le Bars, research project director at SAP. “To realize that mission, we need to understand the potential for business and citizen value by industry, identifying the opportunities and how our members and their communities can take advantage as the market evolves.”

Le Bars, who is also president of QuIC, said that the association will share the Strategic Industry Roadmap with the European Commission, which is developing quantum tech policies and plans within the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes. Staffed with its first executive director and backed by a membership roster that’s a veritable who’s who of quantum experts, QuIC is moving ahead on multiple fronts to help the region seize the quantum opportunity. A check-in with some founding members bore that out.

VC Optimism about Quantum Growth

QuIC’s ecosystem is a healthy resource for a venture capitalist (VC) group like Quantonation, a firm dedicated to investing in quantum-related startups. Many of Quantonation’s portfolio companies are already members.

“We’re looking at how to help startups with increased funding for research and in other ways like education and training,” said Christophe Jurczak, founder and managing partner at Quantonation. “Quantum startups are growing, and we expect to see some proof of concepts and products that potentially demonstrate commercial benefits with real-life results for European citizens during the next few years.”

Industry road mapping helps investors realistically assess the maturity of these technologies, along with the dynamics between participants, including established and new vendors, researchers, and government policymakers. Especially for a VC firm, timing is everything.

“We’re investing early stage and need to know if it’s too late or too early,” said Jurczak. “Industry road maps can help us understand what different entities bring to the table, what these technologies will mean for them, and how they can work together to overcome adoption barriers.”

Quantum Computer Uptake Starts in Public Sector

Publicly funded, high-performance computing (HPC) centers could be among the initial routes to quantum computing uptake. A report co-sponsored by IQM, a Finland-based quantum computer company, found that 27% of HPC centers worldwide were experimenting with quantum computing and predicted 76% will use it by 2023. As a “full stack provider” that builds and assembles quantum computers, IQM will need supply chain resilience, along with the infrastructure that produces the chipsets, and software for the machines.

“We need to align public and private industry decisions around research, funding, and, especially, standardization,” said Jan Goetz, CEO and co-founder of IQM. “Just as important is education. The industry needs to scale talent proportionately to market growth, with self-education and partnerships with academia. We’re also exploring the connections between all quantum technologies – communications and sensing, and even quantum Internet – to see what a quantum-enabled future of the world might look like.”

Making Quantum Computing Easy for Anyone

Already, Multiverse Computing has begun delivering a “quantum and quantum inspired toolbox” with an intuitive front end to the desktops of financial professionals who use it to optimize investments – no advanced physics degree required. While the company specializes in innovations for finance, there’s strong potential for quantum computing in many sectors.

“The quantum computer revolution will arrive much sooner than expected,” said Enrique Lizaso, CEO at Multiverse Computing. “That doesn’t mean quantum supremacy; it only means companies gain speed, efficiencies, and cost-savings from far better solutions. We are starting to deploy quantum solutions for banks and have projects in smart manufacturing with leading European companies in logistics and clean energy.”

Plug and Play Quantum Tech

While quantum processors aren’t a reality yet, Qu & Co has released in beta a quantum software platform for chemistry. In addition to quantum software that’s integrated with traditional computing applications, the Netherlands-based company develops quantum algorithms for industry use cases.

“Users of our platforms can bring quantum solutions directly into their existing computational workflows, staying within their familiar software applications,” said Benno Broer, CEO at Qu & Co. “In the future, they will benefit from improved accuracy and scaling without the need for years of training in quantum computing. It’s plug and play.”

Broer expected quantum technologies will become practical business tools with benefits for numerous industries including aerospace, automotive, electronics, finance, and life sciences.

Quantum Epitomizes Art of the Possible

Tanya Suarez, CEO of BluSpecs, a European-based management consultancy focused on technology adoption, joined the QuIC governing board to be at the forefront of technology ecosystems impacting future industries.

“Quantum promises better solutions more quickly to seemingly intractable problems like climate change or sudden emergencies requiring immediate action such as pharmaceutical developments to combat COVID-19,” said Suarez. “We’re exploring technical and practical business considerations around how quantum technologies will evolve, helping us demystify what Einstein once called spooky actions at a distance.”

While some quantum technologies, like computing, aren’t fully imminent, organizations cannot ignore them, even if immediate business demands are urgent. Leaders are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and taking action to harness quantum technology’s promising yet peerless computational power.


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This also appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.