‘We expect mass adoption of quantum computing within a decade’

At Capgemini, we recommend a five-step approach to harness quantum advantage as soon as it arrives.

‘We expect mass adoption of quantum computing within a decade’
Being a quantum-ready enterprise is a long journey and a structured approach is very crucial.

By Ayushman Baruah

Q&A | Nisheeth Srivastava, chief technology & innovation officer – india, Capgemini

‘We expect mass adoption of quantum computing within a decade’

Earlier this year, French IT major Capgemini set up a dedicated quantum technology lab known as Q-Lab in India, comprising experts who work closely with members of its other labs in the UK and Portugal. India is Capgemini’s largest talent hub with over 150,000 employees. The Q-Lab has been set up to harness the potential of quantum technologies and coordinate research programmes to develop business-driven solutions for clients. Nisheeth Srivastava, chief technology and innovation officer – India, Capgemini, talks about the company’s focus on quantum tech and some of the early trends in an interview with Ayushman Baruah. Edited excerpts:

Why is Capgemini focussing on quantum computing now?

Given several recent breakthroughs and its rapid adoption globally, we at Capgemini expect mass adoption of quantum computing within a decade. Quantum computers solve problems previously thought intractable, by manipulating electrons, photons, or atoms. That opens up exciting new opportunities. Quantum technologies promises exponential speed-up vis-à-vis the best available supercomputers, tap-proof secure communications, and ultra-precise and fast measurements — a phenomenon commonly known as the ‘quantum advantage’ — over classical systems that we use today, across industries. Earlier this year, we launched a dedicated Quantum Lab with team of quantum computing and related technology experts from across the globe, to develop capabilities and coordinate research aimed at the advancement of quantum technologies and exploration of their potential. The objective of launching the Q-lab is to demonstrate and bring to our clients the most pioneering and advanced solutions, and to invest in capabilities early with an aim to become the leading quantum systems integrator globally.

Should businesses invest in quantum technologies now and what are the opportunities?

At Capgemini, we believe that industries that can hugely benefit by quantum technologies cannot afford to wait for the technology to mature before adopting them. They must start exploring use cases and solutions, form partnerships, and find ways to bridge the skills gap starting now. Organisations starting on their journey to be quantum-ready may find it difficult to assess their current state and define logical next steps. Therefore, it is key to evaluate whether it makes sense for the business to invest in quantum technologies before making long term financial commitments. Being a quantum-ready enterprise is a long journey and a structured approach is very crucial.

What factors should they consider before investing in quantum?

Also read How Quantum Computing will disrupt cybersecurity?

At Capgemini, we recommend a five-step approach to harness quantum advantage as soon as it arrives. First, organisations must assess whether investing in quantum technologies makes sense for their business. Second, build a small team of experts. Third, they must translate the potential use cases to small-scale quantum experiments to assess the potential of quantum advantage. Fourth, they should forge long-term partnerships with technology providers, and fifth is to plan for developing appropriate skills in-house.

Any use-cases of quantum technology you are already seeing?

According to a Capgemini survey, energy and chemicals, aerospace, and life sciences are leading the way in quantum technology implementation.In energy and chemicals, it is being explored to address sustainability related goals. Key use cases vary from discovery of new materials for battery manufacturing, to sensing and mitigating harmful industrial gases. Life sciences companies are exploring quantum technology to shorten the drug development cycles. Companies like pharma major GSK are exploring how approaches to quantum optimisation would potentially scale in future in this area of drug development. Similarly, automotive majors are exploring the technology for better car manufacturing, sales, better materials design, exploring new mobility markets and new material discovery. For instance, Volkswagen Group recently demonstrated the first real-time traffic-routing system based on quantum computing, to minimise wait and travel times. Financial services firms are also frontrunners in this journey. For instance, JP Morgan uses a hybrid classical-quantum approach to determine the optimum portfolio of financial assets, which it claims can be scaled to work with portfolios of any size.

Which of the quantum technology related services could be commercialised first?

Quantum computing is a few years away from powering real commercial applications. Organisations that have launched successful proof of concepts (PoCs) are more optimistic about achieving quantum advantage. According to a Capgemini report, 43% of organisations working on quantum technologies expect them to become available for use in at least in one major commercial application, and 20% believe that the goal is less than 5 years away. The development of quantum technology has accelerated due to investor interest, expanding use cases, and breakthroughs in technology frontiers. Improvements in quantum hardware, algorithms, and techniques provide significant speed-up over conventional technology models…We see use cases with application of hybrid approaches involving solutions, that are smartly divided between classical and quantum computing domains, will deliver commercial value sooner. 

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