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Majority of enterprise execs to adopt quantum computing in the near term - study

By Shannon Williams, Fri 7 Jan 2022

The majority of global enterprise leaders agree that those who fail to adopt quantum computing will fall behind, a new study has revealed.

Zapata Computing has released a report on quantum adoption in the enterprise, finding that the earliest adopters expect to achieve or already have some competitive advantage within a year. 

The First Annual Report on Enterprise Quantum Computing Adoption says quantum computing has moved from the fringes to the core of the digital transformation agenda.

Quantum computing has become a priority, as 74% agree that those who fail to adopt quantum computing will fall behind. Those that wish to avoid falling behind are running out of time: among enterprises that have begun building quantum capabilities, 41% expect to achieve a competitive advantage i.e., a lead over peers in their industry within the next two years, while the top 12% of adopters expect to achieve some competitive advantage within one year or already have.

"Today, more organisations are realising that quantum computing is the next frontier in their data analytics capabilities, and if they don't want to lag behind, they need to start building the infrastructure, applications, and workforce for quantum computing today," says Christopher Savoie, CEO of Zapata. 

"We are already seeing how the leaders in quantum adoption are separating themselves from the rest of the pack. They are starting to build solutions that strategically leverage todays quantum devices within mostly classical applications," he says.

"Those that are the furthest ahead aren't just investing in quantum to avoid losing - they're playing to win."

Machine Learning and Data Analytics Are the Top Quantum Use Cases

This is particularly true in the US, where 71% of respondents are most interested in using quantum computing to address machine learning and data analytics problems. Machine learning is the most likely use case to deliver near-term value for the enterprise, as areas where classical ML struggles such as generative models in unsupervised and semi-supervised learning for augmenting datasets in predictive models are better suited for quantum devices.

28% of Global Quantum Computing Budgets Top $1 Million

Organisations are ramping up their quantum investments significantly beyond the ~$100K R&D budgets of the past, representing a turning point in adoption. The earliest adopters of new technologies are more than twice as likely to invest more than $1 million in quantum computing than their late adopter peers (37% vs. 13%).

Organisations Need Quantum Vendors, But Are Concerned About Getting Locked-In

Given the complexity of quantum computing and limited pool of qualified talent, a whopping 96% of respondents agreed that they could not successfully adopt quantum computing without the help of a trusted vendor. However, 73% of respondents were concerned about getting locked-in with a full-stack quantum vendor, while 47% were very or extremely concerned. Related to this, forward compatibility was the top consideration for choosing a quantum vendor. This calls for a hardware-agnostic, interoperable approach to quantum adoption.

Complexity Is the Greatest Barrier to Quantum Adoption

49% of respondents perceived that the biggest hurdle to quantum adoption was the complexity of integrating quantum computing with their existing IT stack. Quantum computing will always exist in a hybrid model with classical computing, and almost all near-term access to quantum devices will be remote. Managing this complexity calls for new workflows to orchestrate the integration of quantum and classical resources. Other top hurdles included security concerns, lack of existing advanced capabilities (AI/ML) to build on, lack of talent or expertise, and a lack of clear use cases.

The United States Leads in Quantum Adoption

36% of leaders surveyed at US organisations are in the early or advanced stages of quantum adoption, with 12% of those organisations expecting to achieve a competitive advantage within one year or have already achieved an advantage. The US also leads in quantum investments, with 44% of quantum-adopting organisations budgeting more than $1 million for the technology.

Quantum Adoption Is Highest in the Transportation Industry

63% of respondents in the transportation industry are in the early stages of quantum adoption, the highest for any industry. This could be a response to the ongoing supply chain crisis, as quantum computing has immense potential to optimise shipping and logistics networks.

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