Quantum technology stands at the forefront of a transformative era, promising to reshape computation, cryptography and scientific exploration by harnessing the principles of quantum mechanics. According to the HCLTech Trends 2024 report, quantum technology finds itself in the early stage of development, with quantum computing, post-quantum cryptography and quantum machine learning emerging as the top three emerging trends in this space.
Dr Naveen Kumar Malik, Associate Vice President at HCLTech and a leading expert in the field, expresses his excitement about the transformative potential of quantum mechanics, stating: "A rising interest in quantum technology is fueled by several breakthroughs on the technology side and a significant increase in investments. Advances include achieving quantum supremacy, developing an industrial quantum computer and quantum safe communication. These breakthroughs mark clear milestones on the path to much higher quantum maturity going forward.”
The report delves into the current stage of quantum technology and the unfolding potential revealing the anticipation within the tech community, with 72% expecting pivotal roles in quantum computing and quantum machine learning in the next one or two years, and 14% recognizing the importance of quantum cryptography.
Understanding the current quantum technology landscape
While still nascent in the technology market, quantum technologies are already impacting the revenue streams of early adopters. With its inherent potential for limitless computing power, quantum computing leads the way in profitability. As the technology matures, early adopters are positioned to reap substantial financial benefits.
Quantum computing, agile in addressing current and future market needs, is closely followed by quantum machine learning, poised to gain traction with more enterprise use cases. Quantum cryptography is bound to impact the overall community due to its ability to ensure robust, integral and secure communication in the quantum era, the report claims. Its potential applications extend to industries such as finance, healthcare and national security, addressing the growing need for secure data exchanges.
HCLTech is exploring quantum computing opportunities with enterprise organizations globally by leveraging the latest Microsoft Azure Quantum toolsets and support. HCLTech aims to inspire and educate its clients to explore and scale customer-ready deployments of quantum applications.
Revolutionizing data analysis with quantum machine learning (QML)
According to the report, quantum machine learning has emerged as a major prospect, with a resounding 79% of respondents affirming its future potential. This surge of interest is further substantiated by a projected 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2023 and 2030, propelling the anticipated market size to a substantial $5 billion by the end of the decade.
QML holds immense promise in overcoming limitations within current quantum algorithms and applications. Positioned for users in a new era of computation power, QML research foresees breakthroughs in drug discovery, material science, financial modelling and AI. Addressing gaps in current quantum computers, QML algorithms leverage quantum system properties like superposition and entanglement for more efficient and powerful computations.
While in its early stages, the report suggests that QML is anticipated to become a pivotal tool, driving scientific discoveries and shaping the future of AI and quantum computing.
Though the future looks promising for quantum technologies, challenges persist on the road to widespread adoption. For instance, quantum systems are susceptible to noise and decoherence, which can corrupt quantum states and limit the accuracy of quantum computations. The report also mentions limitations in translating classical machine learning algorithms to the quantum domain are not always straightforward and may require significant modifications. Similarly, evaluating the performance of QML algorithms is challenging due to the limited availability of quantum computing resources.
“From noise and decoherence to the intricacies of adapting classical algorithms, these limitations highlight the necessity for strategic and collaborative efforts — paving the way for a future where complexity meets resilience and innovation triumphs over hurdles,” adds Dr. Malik.
Quantum cryptography paving the way for robust security and privacy
Quantum cryptography emerges as a disruptor, poised to redefine the landscape of security and privacy in the quantum era. According to the HCLTech Trends 2024 report, quantum cryptography is in a disruption stage, with 48% of respondents foreseeing significant benefits for the cybersecurity sector through the early adoption of quantum technology.
Markets and Markets report predicts a substantial compound annual growth rate of 41.2% between 2023 and 2028, with a projected market size reaching $ 3 billion by 2028. Industry impact assessments reveal a focus on cybersecurity (48%), pharmaceuticals (24%), finance (15%) and manufacturing (13%).
With a high disruption of 57%, quantum cryptography is positioned to transform the way data is secured and protected. Abhinav Khare, General Manager – Ecosystem Innovation and Tech Incubation at HCLTech, adds some strategic insight, stating: "Quantum Cryptography (QKD) is one of complementary approaches to quantum-safe protocols for maintaining crypto agility. In any given scenario, one needs to leverage ecosystem players to define the applicability of a crypto encryption basis different complexity levels."
While successful demonstrations of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) over long distances have been witnessed, and commercial QKD systems are available in the market, the widespread adoption of quantum cryptography is yet to be realized. Quantum cryptography offers crucial business value, providing demonstrably secure communication channels that resist eavesdropping attempts.
In the quantum computing era, where conventional encryption techniques can become insecure, the production of theoretically indecipherable encryption keys through Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) becomes paramount. Beyond secure communication, quantum cryptography ensures the integrity and privacy of data in the expanding Internet of Things (IoT). It boasts inherent security and tamper detection characteristics, making it a potential technique for safeguarding connected devices in smart homes, smart cities and industrial applications.
The concept of crypto-agility enables organizations to adapt to new cryptographic standards and quantum-safe solutions as they evolve. Hybrid solutions, combining classical and quantum-safe algorithms, offer a practical transitional path to quantum-resistant cryptography while maintaining security.
Finally, implementing crypto-agility in hardware is seen as a cost-saving measure, potentially avoiding significant future expenses related to hardware replacement. In essence, quantum cryptography stands at the forefront of transformative technologies, holding the promise to secure our digital future in an era defined by quantum advancements.
Quantum technologies, as outlined in the HCLTech Trends 2024 report, represent not just a technological shift but a strategic imperative. QKD and quantum-safe cryptography aren't distant possibilities; they are tangible solutions for securing communication and data integrity. As businesses navigate this quantum frontier, the fusion of secure communication, strategic adaptability and cost-effectiveness emerges as the cornerstone of a resilient digital future.
Understanding the current quantum tech landscape is key; while scalable quantum computers are on the horizon, businesses can act now by integrating existing quantum technologies into their security strategies. In doing so, they position themselves not only to counter current threats but to thrive in the evolving landscape of quantum technology.