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The Business Impact of Quantum Computing


The impact of quantum computing will vary significantly between business sectors. For some it could be a disruptive game-changer and for others just an incremental efficiency improvement. Here we look at a few different sectors and consider the rationale and impact.

Governments - National Security

No major Government can afford to ignore the risk of quantum computing, information, and sensing. The potential national security risks are too high. The threats are in cyber-warfare, where enemy quantum computers could readily decipher secure data and control key infrastructure/weapons systems, and in physical warfare where quantum computers could rapidly re-optimize battle strategies and quantum radar could detect stealth objects. The ability for a completely secure National Quantum Internet is also a top priority. These priorities are reflected in Government Q-Tech spending plans and in Q-Tech collaboration agreements between “friendly” countries e.g., agreements between USA, UK and Australia. Major defense suppliers are fully responding to the challenge.

Financial Services - FOMO!

Of all the business sectors most concerned about quantum computing, Financial Services is probably No.1. The rationale is simple - FOMO - Fear of Missing Out. They perceive a real possibility that viable quantum algorithms (or “quantum-inspired” classical algorithms) could be developed in the next few years for processes such as portfolio optimization, risk management and market-trading. Given the vast amount of capital managed by the sector, even small quantum improvements could be disruptive. Major banks such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Barclays etc. all have significant quantum computing initiatives underway.

Manufacturing Industries and Logistics – Efficiency Improvements

Many large manufacturing companies have quantum computing initiatives, for example VW, Daimler, BMW, Ford, Airbus, Nippon Steel, Denso, Bosch etc. However, these efforts are still relatively low-key and focused primarily on optimization problems such as factory operations scheduling and logistics. They are potential efficiency improvements which could lower costs but are not (yet) really business game-changers.

Pharma, Chemicals, Materials, Energy  - Breakthrough Innovation

These companies all share the same key science - Chemistry. Future large-scale fault-tolerant quantum computers could revolutionize the science of chemistry and enable product discoveries unimaginable today. New drugs, vaccines, fertilizers, catalysts etc. that could be of huge benefit for humanity and our planet. The only problem is that significant applications are still far away (2030 and beyond). Every major company in this sector has quantum computing initiatives as they have to be prepared for when quantum computing advantage becomes a reality. In the near term, AI on classical computers seems to offer superior advantage and is receiving more attention/investment.

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