Although quantum technologies may not boast an established market or industry standards - let alone dominant players - that's all about to change. Optimistic global forecasts tout quantum computing's potential to revolutionize industries while an eclectic group of experts in Europe just launched a quantum industry network.
Unleashing Your Inner Quantum Physicist
You don't necessarily have to understand the intricacies of quantum physics to experience its value. Anyone that's had an MRI has benefited from quantum sensing, which has been around for decades in medical diagnostics. Quantum computing, quantum simulation, and quantum internet are advancing at different levels of maturity.
'Quantum technologies take the faster, better innovation race of the past 75 years to another innovation level,' said Laure Le Bars, research project director at SAP. 'In this second revolution, we'll understand the theory behind it better and be able to control it more with a progressive, incremental approach, collaborating to explore the possibilities and benefit from each other's ideas.'
Quantum Tech Innovation Network
Le Bars was recently appointed president of the European Quantum Industry Consortium (QuIC), a non-profit organization dedicated to explore quantum innovation for the region and, by extension, worldwide. Founded to serve as a collaborative network of networks, QuIC's members come from companies of all sizes and industries, including small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), venture capitalists, academia, research, government, and industrial associations.
'Building a strong community of quantum technology experts from all sectors is the best way to boost European industry competitiveness,' said Le Bars. 'We will support excellence in research and business as we help bring structure and continuity to quantum technology research, innovation, and eventual development and deployment of these technologies.'
Equitable Platform for Quantum Exploration
As a co-founding member of QuIC, SAP's strategy is aligned with the association's commitment to business networks for fair and equitable innovation that helps organizations become intelligent enterprises.
For example, it's no coincidence that two-thirds of the organization's current members are SMBs and startups. The QuIC ecosystem was designed to attract SMBs, giving them entrée to the latest technologies and a strong market voice. Research shows that startups (40%) and universities (33%) comprise the majority of players involved with quantum computing.
'We're providing SMBs with direct access to the expertise of our members who can share their knowledge and clout across industries, academia, and government,' said Le Bars. 'They can exchange ideas and might even find project partners to develop solutions for customers. SAP's industry cloud is a perfect example of the power of networks for fast innovation.'
Collaboration with European Commission to Fuel Quantum Progress
QuIC is also collaborating with the European Commission as part of that organization's commitment to regional quantum technology progress.
'We want to work with a representative group of companies to help bring research out of the lab and into the real world with practical applications across industrialized products,' said Dr. Gustav Kalbe, head of the High Performance Computing and Quantum Technologies unit at the European Commission. 'QuIC helps us understand what support the industry needs, allowing us to develop EU policies that facilitate market entry and opportunity materialization.'
Opening the Doors to Quantum Technologies
Dr Kalbe's unit at the European Commission develops and carries out the organization's policies on high performance computing and quantum technologies. A long-time European Commission official, Dr Kalbe has been involved in the agency's quantum-related policy initiatives since its start in quantum information processing and communications (QIPC) over 20 years ago.
'Bringing together the industry at-large, we can foster a virtuous cycle of continuous innovation between organizations making the machines and those who will use them,' he said. 'We can collectively address use cases, manufacturing ability, product usability, interoperability, and standardization. As different industry players interact on pre-built operating systems with testing and pilots, they'll have more time to target the next level of complexity, integrating new components for faster market growth from quantum advantage.'
QuIC has designated working groups to build strategic industry road maps, identify gaps in the quantum technology sector, and explore applications and use cases. Some groups will explore pre-standardization and IP-related issues that typify new industries.
'We're not defining IP or standards, but our members will collaborate with other stakeholders like standardization bodies and each other to discuss what baselines are needed for quantum technology advancement,' said Le Bars. 'Similarly, we won't become a university, but we'll collaborate with institutions of higher learning to define the people skills we need and share that with educational organizations that are defining curricula.'
Quantum Tech Made Easy for Business
The good news for business leaders is that you won't have to be a quantum physicist to use these technologies as they emerge.
'Pioneers are asking questions about how to integrate quantum with their products and business plans,' said Dr. Kalbe. 'Many industries will see results from the brilliant entrepreneurs and engineers who will find the most innovative and unexpected ways of using quantum technologies in everyday business.'
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This blog also appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.