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Machine learning and data analytics are top use cases for early adopters of Quantum Computing, especially in the US, where 71% of respondents are most interested in using the technology to solve problems in these areas.
Yet, there’re several challenges that hold Quantum Computing back from going mainstream. Skyrocketing cost is among the most crucial ones. Most Quantum Computing budgets are in the seven figures, with 28% exceeding $1 million. How to lower the price tags is a dilemma that Quantum Computing pioneers and practitioners will have to solve in the first place to enable mainstream adoption of this disruptive technology.
Other top challenges include security concerns, with 43% citing them as key barriers to adoption, and a lack of existing capabilities, knowledge, talents, and compelling use cases.
This article will address two of the most critical business challenges of Quantum Computing mainstream adoption and look at possible ways to overcome them efficiently.
Quantum computers have the potential to solve problems that conventional computers cannot. Conventional computer chips can only process a certain amount of data at a time, and we are very close to reaching their physical limits.
It’s fair to say that the Quantum Computing market is evolving in leaps and bounds. It allegedly reached $358.6 million in 2020 and is expected to reach $2074.6 million by the end of 2027.
The banking sector continues to actively use key technologies such as digitization, automation, cloud data analysis, and artificial intelligence-based security. These investments have been a great boon for banking players as they can enable them to reach new markets and audiences, reduce distribution costs, and gain many other important benefits.
The Quantum Computing industry promises a significant leap forward for end-use industries in identifying critical business risks, improving efficiency, and improving productivity through business optimization. The Quantum Computing industry is also likely to offer various new growth opportunities with automated trading platforms to deliver better business intelligence and insights.
On the contrary, the unique properties of materials for Quantum Computing allow us to process significantly more information much faster.
These advances can revolutionize certain areas of scientific research. Identifying materials with special characteristics, understanding photosynthesis, and discovering new drugs require robust computational power. Theoretically, Quantum Computing could solve these problems faster and more efficiently and could also open up possibilities we don’t even know exist. It’s like comparing a microwave oven to a conventional oven – different technologies for different purposes.
While many companies today lie doggo waiting for others to jump into the unchartered waters of Quantum to create unique and compelling business cases and reduce costs, users seem to be quite optimistic about the future of Quantum Computing.
Some time ago, Futurism ran a poll among its readers asking when they expect to see Quantum Computing in consumer products.
According to its findings, nearly 80% of respondents believe that we will be able to buy a personal quantum computer before 2050. The 2030s is a decade that received the most votes – about 34%. Based on the survey, the following conclusion was made:
“In the 2020s, we will have quantum computers that are significantly better than supercomputers today, but they most likely won’t be in mass use by governments and companies until the 2030s. Eventually, toward the end of the 2030s and early 2040s they’ll shrink down to a size and cost viable for consumer use. Before that point even with the exponential growth of technology, it’s unlikely that it would be cost efficient enough for the average consumer to replace regular computing with Quantum Computing.“
But the technology is advancing rapidly, and experts are hopeful that we will soon see a real, functioning Quantum Computer in all its glory. An international team of researchers wrote in a study published in Physical Review: “Recent improvements in the control of quantum systems make it possible to build a quantum computer within ten years.“
For those who have not yet adopted Quantum Computing, complexity is a huge barrier: 49% of respondents say that integrating Quantum Computing into their existing tech stack proves to be a challenge. To solve it, most companies believe they’ll need a strong Quantum Computing supplier with sufficient expertise and R&D capabilities.
As much as 96% of Zapata Consulting survey respondents agreed that the successful implementation of Quantum Computing would be almost impossible without a reliable supplier. At the same time, 73% expressed concerns about being tied to a full-stack quantum provider.
While challenges are many, two stand out:
Let’s take a look at some possible solutions.
Quantum computers are currently outside the average consumer’s price range and are likely to remain so for at least a few years. Today’s cost of a D-Wave 2000Q is $15 million. It’s unlikely that the price will drop any time soon.
One reason Quantum Computers are expensive is that they rely on a computer switch called a “Josephson junction,” which is two layers of superconducting material with a very thin layer of non-superconducting material in between. According to Network World, “the Josephson junction “is fundamentally quite a delicate object” and thus difficult and costly to manufacture”.
A team of researchers from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is currently working on a tiny, elegant device that could eliminate the Josephson connection and reduce the costs of Quantum Computing adoption.
Some experts believe that new business partnerships will accelerate the spread of Quantum Computing and help drive down its costs.
Quantum Computing, just like any other disruptive technology, can’t evolve in a silo. Technology partnerships and business alliances play a crucial role in lowering the costs and reducing the time for a Quantum Computer to hit the mass market.
As an example, in January 2022, Pasqal, a neutral-atom Quantum technology developer, and Qu&Co, a Quantum algorithms and software development company, joined forces to accelerate progress towards achieving business benefits through Quantum Computing solutions.
Qu&Co’s rich portfolio of quantum algorithms will be tightly integrated with Pasqal’s advanced quantum hardware, delivering added value to clients such as Johnson & Johnson, LG, Airbus, BMW Group, EDF, Thales, MBDA, and Credit Agricole CIB. The new company will offer a wide range of quantum solutions across chemistry, life sciences, automotive, electronics, utilities, aerospace, defense, finance, and other industries.
Leveraging the synergy of the two companies will further strengthen atom-neutral end-to-end Quantum solutions to achieve short-term commercial benefits.
While there’s a lot of promise in quantum computing, companies first need to figure out how to attract more people into the industry.
As per ZDNet, demand for digital skills in the workplace has been on a steady upward trend for years.
The problem is even more difficult for organizations dealing with highly specialized technologies. Quantum Computing, for example, combines many specialized fields such as quantum theory, advanced mathematics, and computer science that are not listed on a usual resume, significantly reducing the talent pool for companies looking to hire in this nascent yet increasingly competitive domain.
“It is incredibly small,” says Samantha Edmondson, Head of Talent at British Quantum Computing startup Universal Quantum, which is on a mission to build the world’s first million-qubit quantum computer.
If you need to hire an experienced quantum physicist, then you’ll be looking at a small handful of academic groups worldwide that you can really choose from.
Quantum computers operate on fundamentally different principles than classical computers, requiring a new approach to problem-solving and a workforce of academic, technical, and business expertise.
No candidate will have it all.
One solution to the tech shortage is for employers to hire employees who are not necessarily experts in the field and then train and re-skill them on the job.
As of today, there’re more than 12,193 Quantum Computing jobs on Linkedin alone. Most of them are in R&D. Yet, our shallow analysis of job descriptions suggests that most companies are looking for skills in emerging tech such as AR, AI, and IoT – with a basic/advanced understanding of how Quantum Computing works – when they refer to “Quantum Computing talent”. It’s a good indicator that the Quantum Computing engineering pool is still nascent and pretty much limited in meeting the current demand.
For a field like Quantum Computing, this still means being extremely selective about the candidates you can hire. While formal higher education is important for creating a new pool of Quantum Computing-ready talents, corporate internships and training programs can help lower barriers to entry and speed up the pool formation.
As a progressive and forward-thinking technology company, rinf.tech works hard to ensure our software engineering talents are future-ready. We realize that Quantum Computing is of incredible importance to the entire high-tech ecosystem as it’ll open the door to things that are completely impossible right now due to huge tech limitations and lack of use cases. Corporates with firsthand experience in disruptive tech should contribute their knowledge and resources to the creation of a new pool of Quantum Computing engineers and consultants. And when Quantum technology goes mainstream, these new specialists will be able to help businesses upgrade their processes and instruments and ensure their readiness for this new level of technology innovation.
For this purpose and to give back to a broader tech community, we’ve launched a virtual Quantum Computing course that’s available free-of-charge to both rinf.tech employees and anyone outside of our organization looking to better understand/gain the basic skills in Quantum Computing. The course starts on February 16, 2022, and will be conducted by our Solutions Architect and an avid Quantum enthusiast Ileana Vucicovici.
Besides new tech skills, our course will also help engineers change their thinking paradigm by acquiring new problem-solving skills unique to Quantum Computing projects and transforming from a T-shaped to π-shaped type of mindset required for engineers of the future.
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