Quantum technologies: companies must prepare now

In recent years, progress in research has accelerated, and quantum computing is starting to appear in the lab. Commercial applications are being tested and may be released within 5 years! Capgemini’s impressive report analyzes the implications of the “quantum advantage” in various fields.

Quantum technologies are still in their infancy. But investors are already convinced of the promise of quantum technologies. As a result, funds raised by startups both in France and around the world are skyrocketing, according to a study by the private research institute Xerfi.

However, “Organizations are still in the proof-of-concept stage” says a 70-page report published in April 2022 by Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology and engineering services.

Entitled “Quantum technologies: how to prepare your organization for quantum advantage now”this paper is based on comments from quantum project managers at 857 companies, as well as about thirty managers, researchers, scientists, and venture capitalists.

As shown in the chart below, France has nothing to be ashamed of, with about a quarter of French companies surveyed by Capgemini relying (or planning to) on quantum technologies. But the Netherlands and China are far advanced on this issue: almost 40% of organizations have integrated quantum technologies into their projects.

On paper, these technologies could revolutionize the way companies deal with issues such as optimizing their supply chain (which has been hit particularly hard since the pandemic due to sanitary restrictions and a shortage of electronic components), mechanical modeling, and protecting data from hacking.

Quantum cryptography solutions have already been implemented. But many quantum organizations are waiting for standards to emerge before prioritizing quantum security.

Quantum computing will also enable the discovery of light and strong materials or new drugs. As sensors become smaller, more energy efficient and cheaper, they too can play a transformative role in all sectors. They can improve measurement accuracy, especially in healthcare/diagnostics, defense, automotive, civil engineering, construction, oil/gas, space, and cybersecurity with the OpenQKD project.

For companies, the priority is not to miss the quantum train and not risk being overtaken by competitors. Seven out of ten organizations surveyed by Capgemini acknowledged that, due to long product development cycles, they need to integrate quantum technologies into their processes now.

“Once these technologies are mature enough, there will likely be strong competition for skills or resources. Companies that already have them are likely to gain a significant advantage over their peers.”Capgemini emphasizes.

Almost half of the organizations working on quantum technologies expect to see them used in at least one major commercial application within the next 3-5 years.

The figure above shows four key areas where quantum technologies can help improve environmental sustainability. For example, according to a study published in February 2022 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electricity generation accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Quantum computing can help model new photovoltaic materials that increase the efficiency or reduce the cost of manufacturing solar panels.

Even though quantum technologies have been around for decades, they are still in their infancy when it comes to commercial applications. A bit like the Internet in the 1980s and computers shortly after the invention of the transistor.

Once today’s hardware and software problems are overcome, quantum technologies could change how we solve some of our biggest business and social problems. But their real impact will only become clear in the next decade. And businesses need to prepare for this now.