Quick Quantum Quips: Vendors lay the groundwork for regional and technological differentiation as commercialization of quantum computers looms

Welcome to TBR’s monthly newsletter on the quantum computing market: Quick Quantum Quips (Q3). This market changes rapidly, and the hype can often distract from the realities of the actual technological developments. This newsletter will keep the community up to date on recent announcements, while stripping away the hype around developments.

For more details, reach out to Stephanie Long or Geoff Woollacott to set up a time to chat.

June 2020 Developments

Various developments and investments in quantum computing highlight the vastness of the opportunities that exist in this field for vendors willing to endure the long haul between research and development and commercialization. While major players continue to make strides, quantum computing startups still stand strong in the market, receiving additional funding and forming strategic partnerships to push forward with their individual goals. Globally, skills shortages remain a challenge and a threat to rapid commercialization once the technology is available. As such, courses at the high school level are being developed so students are familiar enough with the technology to know if they would be interested in pursuing a related degree at the higher-education level. This is essential as in some ways, introducing students to the quantum field after they have entered college may be too late as many of these students may have already decided on their specialization.

  1. D-Wave and NEC partnered on quantum computing sales and marketing opportunities in addition to product development to bolster the prevalence of the technology globally. This partnership in particular increases D-Wave’s presence in Japan and provides NEC with assets to compete against Fujitsu in their respective local markets. The product development portion of the partnership combines NEC’s supercomputing technologies with D-Wave’s quantum expertise to bring hybrid compute solutions to market. Early activity in the quantum space suggests a hybrid compute model is the most likely way early quantum computers will be leveraged commercially.
  2. Honeywell claims to have the world’s highest-performing quantum computer as of June, leveraging IBM’s measuring tool for quantum computing, called Quantum Volume, to back up its claim. The system has a quantum volume of 64, and marks the delivery of promises Honeywell made regarding quantum computing performance in March. TBR notes that a key customer example Honeywell leveraged in the March announcement was JPMorgan Chase, which is also a strategic quantum customer for IBM and highlights the highly fluid nature of the quantum systems space, which will see systems vendors leapfrogging each other’s performance claims for the foreseeable future.
  3. Fermilab designed an introductory quantum computing course for high school and lay people interested in gaining a grasp on the subject without prior quantum mechanics familiarity. TBR believes this is a win for both the quantum space and the education space in the U.S. Public education increasingly emphasizes STEM and this course falls squarely in this area, reinforcing some public education goals while also working to improve knowledge of quantum computing at the high school level, which in turn will encourage students leaving high school and entering college to pursue degrees related to the subject. As the skills gap in the quantum field remains large, which will hinder scaling the technology’s commercial use, promoting quantum-related fields in higher education is paramount to the long-term viability of the technology at the commercial level.
  4. IQM, a Finnish startup that produces quantum hardware, secured another round of funding in June. This news came while the Finnish government announced it would acquire a quantum computer for the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Multiple European countries are making similar investments, with Germany also commissioning at least two quantum computers. With its team in Munich, IQM also has the potential to capitalize on investments in Germany in quantum systems. TBR notes these government-centric quantum system purchases are currently for research purposes. These developments highlight that despite having clear front-runners in the quantum computing space, such as IBM, Google and Honeywell, there is still a well-defined space in the market in which startups can thrive. In some cases, there are regional advantages that major players cannot capitalize on as well as startups. For example, governments outside the U.S. and China have a perceived threat of taking advantage of quantum technologies that are not locally native due to the potential security threat the systems could cause. As such, vendors such as IQM and Atos are able to secure funding in Europe that other players cannot.
  5. QC Ware entered a research partnership with AISIN Group, a major manufacturer of automotive components, to develop ways to leverage quantum optimization and quantum machine learning algorithms for automotive applications. QC Ware has partnerships with Rigetti Computing and D-Wave for quantum computing hardware, and this partnership with AISIN grants it access to their hardware capabilities too. A key advantage of this relationship with AISIN Group for QC Ware is not only increased exposure of its value within the quantum computing industry but also an expanded presence in Asia.

If you would like more detailed information around the quantum computing market, please inquire about TBR’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, a semiannual deep dive into the quantum computing market. Our most recent version was just released in June.

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