Insights from MWC & 4YFN on what quantum computing needs to succeed

by Sumair Zamir Manager, Disruption & Innovation

Email +44 (0)7753 458574

What you need to know about quantum computing

I was lucky enough to attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) and its startup event at 4 Years From Now (4YFN). It is a global four day event held every year in the heart of Barcelona. The whole city buzzes with more than 100,000 people flying in from all over the world.

I was attending to learn about the emergence of new technologies and trends. MWC and in particular 4YFN did not disappoint. Let’s cut to the chase. So, what were some of the best bits that I took away?

  1. Quantum computing and what it needs to succeed
  2. Graphene and a few of its emerging applications
  3. Blockchain and the future of data ownership and the internet 4.0
  4. Upheaval of the global communications network with a space laser network
  5. 5G, 5G and of course, more 5G

As an aside, a particular shout out to the Japanese startups that attended the event. My favourite was a startup with a pen which can help you draw straight lines called Lainova.

In this blog, I’m going to focus on what I learnt about what quantum computing needs to succeed.

But firstly, what is quantum computing?

For context, quantum computing represents the next “fundamental” stage in the evolution of the computer. With potential to perform computation at far faster speed than current computers. However, while speed is one thing, it would be unfair to limit the technology to just a speed increase. The really exciting element is how the technology may open up very specific, powerful and currently unimagined applications in the future.

I have completed a fair bit of research on this incredibly exciting emerging technology. My take, and one that is corroborated by many others, is that quantum computing (when truly ready) has the potential to disrupt every industry. Its proposed applications range from speeding up the discovery of new drugs and materials, advanced machine learning (neural networks), simulating climate change, curing cancer and other applications not even conceived yet.

So, what did I learn at 4YFN about what quantum computing needs to succeed?

Whurley, a prominent figurehead of the quantum computing movement, Founder & CEO of Strangeworks (a quantum computing software company) summarised his views across three points which were 1) long term investment, 2) collaboration and 3) creativity, craziness and patience. I’ve added a bit of colour to these points below from the talk and other research I’ve completed:

  1. Long term investment: Billions are being invested by Governments all around the world. China has invested $10b into quantum computing and related technologies. The private sector has invested more than $700m since 2012 and continues to grow.
  2. Collaboration: No one will solve quantum in their garage. Patents, experiments and learnings are being worked on together by researchers around the world.
  3. Creativity, craziness and patience: Quantum computing deserves all of these qualities, just look at the future of quantum below. It’s so worth it!

Oh and the best part of the talk was when Whurley gave me a “Quantum Computing for Babies” book.

So what does this all mean for your organisation?

Quantum computing is not here yet and may not be in its most powerful form for quite some time. Today, it’s potential for commercialisation continues to be explored. However, just like the computers of old (or more commonly known as the computers of today) the power of quantum computers will continue to increase at an exponential pace. Many organisations have already begun to consider the bespoke applications of quantum computing. With timescales in the region of 3 to 5 to 10 years, understanding, laying out a roadmap and experimenting today will allow your organisation to exploit that quantum future.

I could go on, but for this blog - I’ll end it there. MWC and 4YFN were a great experience. The conference was a great opportunity to be curious, learn, and meet so many experts from across various fields. Is it 2020 yet? See you all next year.

If you’d like to know more about quantum computing, how it works and its applications across industries feel free to email me. Quantum computing is just one of the disruptors of the future. If you’d like to know more about the impact of Disruption and how the collision of emerging technologies like quantum computing and megatrends will impact our clients and their traditional business models, please explore our Disruptive innovation and emerging technology website.


by Sumair Zamir Manager, Disruption & Innovation

Email +44 (0)7753 458574

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