How Quantum Computing Can Help Businesses?
Last October, Google created ripples in the technology world by announcing that they have gained an understanding of quantum computing.
Just two days before Google made this announcement, IBM had made its own claim online.
So, what is quantum computing, and why are the two technology giants contesting this battlefield.
To understand what quantum computing is, let’s first understand how it is different from normal computing.
Normal computing chip uses bits that are represented as 0s (off) and 1s (on). Everything that we see is a combination of these two units. Quantum computing works differently. It is represented by qubits. So, instead of just ‘on’ and ‘off,’ qubits can be both at the same time. This is called superposition. This is what makes quantum computing powerful. It prepares people for uncertainty. It helps people do complex calculations that could take normal computer years to complete.
If used the right way, quantum computing can help businesses do things that we read about only in science-fiction novels.
Businesses like Google, IBM, and Alibaba have already started investing and experimenting with quantum computing. Google is using it to improve the software of self-driving cars, while IBM is providing a tool called Circuit Composer to allow developers to write quantum programs.
Alibaba has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Quantum Computing Laboratory to do further research in the area of quantum computing and to find ways to use it commercially. It had also launched an 11-Qubit quantum computing cloud service
While we conceptually know how powerful quantum computing can be, let’s understand its business potential.
How Can Quantum Computing Benefit Businesses?
According to a Markets and Markets report, quantum computing will become a $283 million industry by 2024. Businesses like JP Morgan Chase are already experimenting with it to build a tailor-made portfolio for its customers. They are already running quantum computing to improve trading strategy, portfolio, asset pricing, and risk analysis.
Let’s also look at other areas where quantum computing can be used.
1. Data analytics:
Each day, we collectively generate over 2.5 exabytes of data! Data comes in various forms – videos, photographs, text, and more! The list just goes on. Data is crucial for businesses. As data increases, businesses will have a tough time structuring it to gain business insights from it. That’s where quantum computing can help. Businesses can use quantum computing to sift through the humongous amount of unstructured data, analyze it, and gain some valuable insights on how to use the data for further growth. NASA, for example, is already planning to use quantum computing to analyze the data it collects about the universe for their research purpose.
In continuation of the point above, classic computing can only handle a limited amount of data. This can limit the potential of forecasting complex situations. Let’s look at weather forecasting. The meteorological departments would require an enormous amount of data to simulate different scenarios and predict climate accurately. Quantum computing can help in accurate forecasting. It can process a large amount of data and use different factors to predict the weather accurately and quickly. It can also potentially deliver economic benefits for countries and businesses as they plan for abnormal weather events or time weather-driven actions (like equipment maintenance) in advance.
3. Medical Research:
Here’s an interesting fact – it takes 12 years for medical researchers to find the best medication for various diseases and viruses with the existing normal computation. Quantum computing can reduce this period and even save R&D costs. If experts are to be believed, quantum computing can help researchers find drugs for treating various types of cancers and even Alzheimer’s. It will give the researchers an in-depth understanding of the human body at a molecular level and develop drugs with few or no side-effects.
4. Pattern Matching
Volkswagen has been working on a solution that could inform drivers about traffic jams 45 minutes in advance. They used quantum computing to match traffic patterns and predict the behavior of the system. Quantum computing can help businesses find and predict future trends in their data to make more informed business decisions through such sophisticated pattern matching by getting to see beyond the obvious trends.
5. Logistic and Supply Chain Management
According to an IBM study, the entire manufacturing ecosystem can be an early beneficiary of quantum computing. Supply chain and logistics, for example, can be a good use-case for manufacturing businesses to try quantum computing. It can help businesses optimize their logistics by scheduling and planning routing to ensure just-in-time material deliveries. Quantum computing can also run through multiple models simultaneously to find the best route to deliver products in record time! Alibaba, for example, is already banking upon quantum computing to strengthen its hardware and network infrastructure.
What’s the Next Step ahead for Businesses?
Quantum computing is still at a nascent stage. However, given its benefits, businesses are willing to pump in money to research and experiment with it. It’s coming up to the time when more businesses will want to join in the efforts and become quantum-computing ready. To do that, businesses will have to prepare a strategy that would include identifying use cases that would benefit the most from the transition, experimenting with quantum computing, and charting the future roadmap. Of course, or the change to happen successfully, businesses should be willing to embrace change. That should be easy enough to do when you consider the possible benefits that could accrue.