Best practices to help prepare corporations and employees for the future of quantum computing — learning from our portfolio company, Alice & Bob.
The use and implementation of quantum computing has become a hot topic over the last few years and there is so much that still feels unknown. Taking these super computers from an anomaly to an industry standard seemed increasingly challenging with all the hurdles in the way such as their increased sensitivity, the large amount of errors, and the time required to run a single Qubit. That is until we met Alice & Bob and backed their seed round of €3m in 2020.
Alice & Bob is the brainchild of Founders Théau Peronnin and Raphaël Lescanne. This impressive startup is on its way to creating the world’s first fault tolerant quantum computer that will surely lead to disruption in classical computing and a wealth of new opportunities and at Elaia, there’s nothing that we love more than a truly disruptive startup that opens up a new and huge market.
But first, what is quantum computing?
As industries and the world become more and more digitalized, there is a need for more data storage and complex calculations that classical computers aren’t capable of handling and this is where quantum computers step in. These super computers are capable of processing much heavier and denser loads while using less energy than a classical computer and at a much faster pace as they’re able to essentially bypass laws of physics that restrict classical computing. By leveraging the laws of quantum physics, we can perform very complex calculations at high speed, opening new opportunities in chemistry, drug discovery, finance, climate change and engineering. Quantum computing will likely revolutionize industries just as classical computers did, but this revolutionary computer has its challenges. These computers are extremely sensitive, and the slightest change can destabilize them, this is referred to as “decoherence.”
Can quantum computers overcome present day challenges?
This is where Alice & Bob comes in, their solution is an autonomous stabilized Qubit that requires significantly less of the current required hardware. They call it the Cat Qubit, and this Cat Qubit is able to not only remain stable, but to be controlled and coherent as well. Thanks to startups working in this area, the dream of an error-free quantum computer seems to be slowly becoming a reality. The sector is therefore starting to project itself in a more serene way and to genuinely consider possible applications.
Indeed, no large organization wishing to preserve its competitive advantage will be able to avoid looking into the subject. It is therefore necessary to understand the sector and start preparing to be part of the quantum revolution. Currently, corporations are gearing up for the guaranteed disruption and value creation that quantum computing will bring, and several have begun creating research teams to prepare for this change. These teams can be created internally or outsourced by hiring externally or working with consulting firms. The teams are sourcing the right training material, developing skills and are actively identifying practical use cases and applications to deliver. They’re also learning to defend themselves against the cybersecurity risk that quantum computing could enable. As a result, we’re witnessing the creation of a new rich ecosystem of engineers, researchers, consultants and also public and private organizations willing to participate in the advancement of the sector, and the creation of future champions.
These tips and best practices are based on a round table with Alice & Bob and several industry leaders.
How can corporates prepare internally for the future of quantum computing?
- Learn about quantum computing first independently. Take time to educate yourself so that you’re able to pick the right provider for future use.
- Begin to integrate this knowledge at every level and across departments. Senior managers and employees should be properly onboarded and convinced of this coming change in order to avoid future problems.
- Consider creating an internal taskforce (we’ll get back to this in the next section) or working with external consultants that will help show everyone how quantum computing works, what the benefits and risks are and how it might impact your industry.
- Consider rolling out an internal team but keep in mind that this is long term, and you’ll need to invest in this over a few years before seeing any return.
- Understand that this will be truly disruptive, so the guidelines will change and evolve as we know more about quantum computers. New information will come up regularly as we learn more about how we can optimize quantum computing for company use.
How to begin implementing the right team internally
- Explore at what point you can have an internal team. Is it feasible? Do the right talents and resources exist in your region or country and is it relatively affordable to begin building this team. A great way to start can be to partner with academic research institutions.
- Educate your existing team. It’s important to educate and train your team to prepare for the quantum advantage. You need to be ready and work with skilled people, so you can start early and learn the fundamentals and algorithms.
- Assess the value chain of the company. See where the use case can be best applied, then see what the impact could be. Finally, create a roadmap to show what you’ll have and when and where it’ll be applied.
- Keep in mind that it’s unlikely that you’ll find experts with decades of experience except in research labs. These future experts are in academic institutions now and that’s likely where you’ll have to look to hire guidance for your company or team.
Elaia’s perspective on quantum computing
“As investors, we are very excited by what is happening at the moment in quantum computing. Very few sectors offer as much promise as the quantum computer. It is a true disruptive innovation, capable of radically transforming the way computations are done and opening the way to markets and use cases that were previously inaccessible.
The implication for us as investors is that despite the risk associated with the deep tech nature of the technology, we are in a market that can be colossal. We are therefore delighted to support one of the future European champions in this field, Alice & Bob.
They have a very strong value proposition as their promise is to solve a central problem: qubit stabilization — without this element, quantum computers cannot be created. Their leaders have shown us that they have a very clear vision of the project’s ambition and have surrounded themselves with the best quantum experts”. — Sofia Dahoune, Investment Director at Elaia.
Final thoughts on how to prepare for the future of quantum computers
Companies should be open-minded and understand that the actual results will not be apparent for a long time and that the most important thing is to instill a culture of innovation and learning. Currently, the quantum computing information that exists is not thorough enough, so this disruption can look like a lot of hype and companies need to be motivated to start implementing initiatives. Start small and properly integrate it over time as the information evolves.
Finally, while the standardized use of quantum computing might seem like it’s in the distant future, it will be around sooner than you think. Prepare for this change by identifying the use case, looking at the value and getting ready for the potential impact. This is yet another step in the digital transformation, and you don’t want to be left behind. And finally, don’t forget that most disruptive innovations were once underestimated by big actors.