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Unlocking Quantum’s Commercial Potential

Unlocking Quantum’s Commercial Potential

Private and public funding will invest upwards of $6 billion a year over the next 10 years to bring quantum technologies out of the lab and into commercial use, with the ability to improve current applications and enable new ones. McKinsey has sized the quantum ecosystem as being over $100 billion by 2040 with the potential for trillions of dollars in potential profits in areas such as quantum computing, networking, timing, and sensing.

On this week’s Fiber for Breakfast episode, Mark Wippich, CEO of consulting group MPW, noted that “Big companies, Fortune 500s like Google, Amazon, IBM, and others are all spending significant amounts on their balance sheet in these areas. Some are very public. Some of them are very secretive.”

Over the next five years, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is expected to enhance and upgrade commercial applications, including network and financial security, atomic clocks for navigation and network applications, and quantum sensors for accurate measuring at a minute scale. Other application areas are still in progress.

“Quantum computation already works today, but it’s not economically viable today for certain problems. It’s still more cost-effective to use a high-performance computer, but we are starting to see [quantum computers] work on certain use cases. When will these things be powerful enough that they will dramatically improve beyond a high performance? That’s a little bit further out.”

Wippich says that quantum networking is needed to support scaling of quantum computing to commercial levels, which will require the use of fiber and various equipment that needs to be built and perfected for that to happen. Meanwhile, Europe and Asia are embracing QKD for the day when a quantum computer becomes large enough to break existing encrypting schemes, an event that he believes will happen in the next five to eight years.

“Quantum was actually overhyped in 2019, 2020, 2021,” said Wippich. “It started to level out a bit in 2022 and 2023. Now I would say it’s not hyped enough. Chat GPT took over. Nobody thought it would grow so fast overnight.”

To learn more about quantum technologies’ potential for growth, listen to the latest Fiber for Breakfast.

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