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Is quantum computing ready to leap into the real world?


Market research firm IDC predicts that by 2023, 25% of Fortune 500 companies will gain a competitive advantage from quantum computing.  

It’s a bold prediction given the current dearth of real-world examples of quantum computing in action. However, there’s plenty of industry activity to back up IDC’s forecast. In fact, early this year at the Consumer Electronics Show the biggest buzz wasn’t the newest smartphone, wearable device or autonomous-driving technology, but rather unprecedented computing power based on an area of quantum physics Albert Einstein described as “spooky action at a distance.”

While quantum computing hasn’t yet factored into solving worldwide problems such as the coronavirus pandemic, that is exactly the type of problem quantum has the potential to address. That potential will turn into a reality, according IBM, one of a handful of tech giants leading the quantum charge. “This is the decade that quantum computing gets real,” says Katie Pizzolato, director at IBM QStart.

For that reason, Pizzolato said, it was important to keep quantum public-facing rather than keep it a technology buried in research facilities. “We wanted to get quantum out of the labs and into the real world,” she said in reference to IBM’s strong presence at CES.

Companies such as Google, Microsoft, D-Wave and Regetti are also eager to move quantum forward, and based on IDC’s recent report “Quantum Computing Adoption Trends:  2020 Survey Findings”, the technology is building momentum.

According to responses from 520 IT and line-of-business professionals, quantum computing budgets and implementations will increase in the next 18-24 months. Half of all respondents to the IDC survey reported that funds allocated for quantum computing accounted for just 0-2% of the annual IT infrastructure in 2019,  but will account for 7-10% in the next 24 months.  For companies with more than 10,000 employees, the spending increase is more dramatic – more than half of respondents will spend between 9% and 14% on quantum technology over the next two years.

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