Quantum computing is gradually transitioning from being a futuristic concept to slowly and steadily making its way to solving real-life problems. While it is still in the exploratory stages, in the future it is expected to have a very high impact by helping to solve problems that current computing power is not able to, and in the process, creating an industry worth US$86 billion by 2040.
Looking at the promise and potential impact of quantum computing on the economy and business, several countries are funding research and development programs. Overall, there are 15 countries across the world with well-defined national initiatives in quantum technology, with approximately US$23 billion of funding announced to date. The UK government, in partnership with industry, has invested £1 billion to commercialize quantum innovations and attempt to secure the UK’s status as a world leader in quantum science and technologies. Governments are not the only ones taking steps towards building a quantum future.
Technology firms are also investing millions of dollars in developing quantum computers, and equity funding for start-ups in quantum computing has risen by five-fold since 2015.
With this hype around quantum computing, one cannot but wonder whether enterprises are exploring the associated risks and opportunities. Quantum computing, due to complex hardware and software requirements, is still a few years away from being commercially available. However, this has not discouraged enterprises from investing in or exploring it. IDC predicts that the number of organizations putting aside more than 17 percent of their annual IT budgets for quantum computing would rise to 19 percent by 2023.
What are the challenges in the adoption of quantum computing?
Continuous evolution of the quantum computing landscape
Although quantum technology is still at a nascent stage, it is evolving at a rapid pace. This has resulted in several new approaches towards the development of quantum technology. For example, there are several different approaches towards building a quantum computer depending on the type of qubit technology used at the hardware layer. It is then difficult to identify which specific technological approach will be able to withstand the pressure of time and prove its suitability for running commercial applications.
Lack of identification of business use cases
Although quantum computing offers tremendous potential, companies are still cautious in adopting it. In a survey conducted by KPMG in September 2021, 6 only 56% of companies said they had undertaken any work to explore the risks of quantum technologies and the opportunities they may offer their business. That leaves 44% of companies having yet to take action regarding quantum technology. This cautious approach can be attributed to the challenges faced in identifying the right business problems that cannot be solved by classical computers and require quantum computing.
Shortage of skilled resources Quantum computers are radically different from classical computers and require specialized skills that are in short supply. Development of quantum computing capabilities requires people who understand physics, mathematics, and computing. What is more, companies experimenting with quantum computing need employees who can provide an understanding of the business and therefore are able to identify the specific problems that require the maturity and ecosystem of quantum computing. A combination of such skills can be very difficult to find. There is no denying that quantum computing delivers significant advantages over traditional computing, so what steps can businesses take to help ensure they overcome these challenges and realize the potential benefits.
The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership publication Unlocking the Business Value of Quantum Computing.