Broader and deeper quantum technologies commercialisation has been noted as a major trend for this year, after featuring in CB Insights’ 2020 Tech Trends report.

The transformative effect of new and evolving technologies, and the way in which they shape the global economy, is well documented. While yesterday we were speaking about the IoT, cloud computing and big data analytics – all of which still firmly have their place in the technological landscape – today we’re also looking at AI, fifth-gen networks and indeed quantum computing.

In its 2020 Tech Trends report, CB Insights has analysed the 14 tech trends that it believes “deserve close attention in the first year of the 2020s”. The report explores a broad range of topics which include the continuing advancements in artificial intelligence, the impact of 5G networks and the threats of biohacking.

Importantly, the report speaks at length about the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies, and acknowledges the important role Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) will play as a cybersecurity tool.

Quantum tech trends

Earning the number one spot in the report, quantum tech is described as ‘coming of age’, where “advances in quantum computers and quantum cryptography will begin to stack up as more companies take notice of quantum tech’s potential – with both excitement and a bit of apprehension”.

According to the report, mention of quantum computing in the media has increased 64% year-on-year since November 2019, showing the increasing attention the technology is receiving. It’s also a trend that we have observed, with publications such as the Hudson Institute’s Executive’s Guide to Quantum Computing and Quantum-secure Cybersecurity, the CSA’s Preparing Enterprises for the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Threats and the WEF’s Global Risk Report 2020 all looking to raise awareness of quantum computing among IT and cybersecurity professionals, as well as the C-suite.

The report also explains the role of quantum mechanics in today’s technology, alongside the reach that quantum computers could have when they are widely available. One such example is in AI, the top subject of the 2019 report, which could be profoundly more powerful if backed by quantum computers.

CB Insights quantum computing searches
Source: CB Insights

Beside a growing interest and role, the publication also explores how tech companies are “beginning to lay the groundwork for a quantum revolution”, noting recent key announcements such as Microsoft and Amazon entering the quantum computing market (stories we covered in our Q4 2019 quantum computing industry review) and Google’s claim to have demonstrated quantum supremacy.

“Looking ahead, expect more claims of quantum supremacy to crop up as the underlying hardware becomes increasingly powerful and more researchers focus on building out quantum computing applications.”

Quantum’s cybersecurity threats acknowledged, together with the role of QKD

As well as advocating the benefits of quantum computing, the report also discusses the threats posed by the technology: “As quantum computing advances in the coming years, the tech’s promised ability to quickly crack codes could eventually pose a threat to many of the encryption protocols that underpin modern communication. Left unchecked, this could lead to a scenario where private information is much less secure online, threatening e-commerce purchases, the security of stored information, and more.”

Crucially, the report goes on to acknowledge the role that Quantum Key Distribution (also known as QKD or quantum cryptography) can play in securing organisations against quantum attack, before advising readers to “expect interest in quantum cryptography, and a host of other quantum-computing resistant security methods referred to collectively as “post-quantum cryptography,” to spike in 2020.”

IDQ is also acknowledged in report for its work helping customers “preemptively prepare their networks for the onset of quantum computers”.

The report concludes its section on quantum computing by commenting on how awareness of the technology will continue to rise: “This year, more companies will come to appreciate not just the seemingly boundless potential of quantum computers, but also the looming threat.”

You can download the full 2020 Tech Trends report here.

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