Perhaps The Most Disruptive Technology In History Is Coming And It’s Expected To Change Everything. Businesses And Marketers Need To Get Quantum Ready.

We’re entering the “second quantum revolution” and marketers need to begin to understand its future implications. The first quantum revolution started 100 years ago in the 1920’s with the discoveries of Albert Einstein and others, that led to innovations like lasers, solar cells, atomic clocks used in GPS, semiconductors, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). For decades since, the tremendous potential of quantum in many areas has been largely theoretical, until that past 20 years when a number of critical developments emerge:

– Quantum information processing elements called quibits (quantum bits) began being manufactured.

– Refrigeration equipment was developed that can reach temperatures close to absolute zero (−459.67 °F), the temperature at which quantum systems are the least disturbed by “thermal noise”. This extremely low temperature is required for quantum computers to do their work, isolated from the surrounding environment.

– Quantum algorithms and computing hardware began to be developed.

– It became possible to link many processor chips to work together, exponentially increasing computing power

Quantum computing involves the transfer and computation of information at the subatomic level. According to a January 2023 article Time Magazine as well as other sources, quantum computers can calculate millions of times faster than a personal computer. Quantum is expected to dramatically increase the capabilities of artificial intelligence. It can process many different scenarios simultaneously, to optimize solutions to problems. vs. today’s computer algorithms, quantum algorithms can be trained faster, you can run more hypotheses, and it’s better at determining correlations from massive amounts of data. Complex problems that would take several years for classical computers to figure out, can be solved in seconds with quantum.

Quantum has the potential to answer questions and open fields of discovery, previously unanswerable and unfathomable. Eduard Vallory, Director General of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) provided an analogy to the discovery of diseases. Before humans were able to see micro-organisms through a microscope, people didn’t know diseases existed because they couldn’t see them. The second Quantum revolution is expected to open up entirely new areas of understanding because we will be able to see how the previously unseeable and unknowable works.

Victor Canivell, the CEO and co-founder of Qilimanjaro, the red-hot quantum start-up spun out of the world-renowned Barcelona Super Computer Center, the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE), and the University of Barcelona, ​​shared another great reference for understanding what Quantum can do… trying to find your way out of a labyrinth. Presently, the only option would be following each pathway separately, until you find an exit. With quantum, you have an aerial view and can see all the potential pathways simultaneously. Somewhat analogous to Apple, Qilimanjaro is vertically integrated to include both hardware and algorithm design which helps them ensure smooth functioning between the two. Few start-ups in the space are vertically integrated in this way.

The World Economic Forum, estimated global public spending on quantum technology was $30 billion in 2022, with China making up approximately half, the European Union almost another quarter, and the remaining quarter spread primarily among nine countries, including the US, Canada, Japan, the UK, Singapore and Israel. In terms of private investment, the US and EU lead, with 59 and 53 quantum computing startups respectively. There were only two startups in all of South America, and none in Africa.

More and more governments, companies, and sectors around the world are viewing Quantum as a necessity for cyber security. Because quantum computers can check millions of options simultaneously with incredible speed, they are ideal for hacking. While the most obvious practical applications for quantum computing may not include marketing, the competitive advantages quantum can bring organizations will have a huge impact on product and service features and attributes, and marketing claims for competitive advantage.

I spent the past few weeks speaking to the most brilliant people I could find in Spain, a leader in quantum computing in Europe. Spain, like other supercomputing eco-systems wants to be a leader in the emerging quantum growth sector because it’s an outstanding way to boost their economy and because of quantum’s massive potential to disrupt nearly every industry. To quote Gonzalo de la Torre, Global Head of Data & Analytics – IKEA for Business, Group Digital, who holds a PhD in quantum physics and is based in Madrid, “I can’t envision a world in which quantum won’t change everything ”.

My guide and scientific translator for quantum immersion was Albert Solana, Business Developer Manager of Qilimanjaro, the firm that was just selected to assemble a new quantum computer that will be one of the world’s most powerful and the first in Southern Europe. It will be housed at the Barcelona Super Computing Center. Qilimanjaro is a spin-off started in 2020 from 3 Spanish technological centers. Albert’s multi-disciplinary route to this fascinating role began when he studied and later worked in computer engineering. From there he pursued an MBA at ESADE Business School. Post MBA, Albert worked for a digital ad agency, then at a block chain start-up, and during COVID, he pursued a post-graduate degree in Quantum Engineering at UPC from Barcelona, ​​with top professors from UAB, UB, and the world -reknown ICFO photonics research institution.

With knowledge of quantum, data analytics, computer engineering, cryptography, and marketing, I can’t imagine anyone better to explain why nearly all functional groups in organizations need to get “quantum ready.” Here are 9 potential use cases for business applications with relevance for marketers. All involve problems for which a tremendous amount of data must be collected and processed.

1) Dynamic Pricing Optimization

The brilliant head of Repsol’s (Spain’s Largest Multinational Energy Company) quantum application efforts, Ricardo Enriquez, lists part of his LinkedIn title as “Quantum Computing Optimist”. Among all the ways Ricardo explained that Repsol and its customers could benefit from quantum, one stood out for me. In the future, technology will enable consumers to collect and save energy at the individual level from their solar panels and bio waste, and then sell the excess they capture back to energy companies and municipal power grids. Massive amounts of data will be required to optimize the pricing dynamically, by time of day, season, and location.

2) Utilities And Companies Optimizing Operating Costs, Run Time and Energy Consumption

Complex optimization problems exist in many industries. The current general way of solving these problems requires heavy computations in large data centers that require a lot of energy consumption and don’t reach an exact solution since approximations must be made to shorten the computing time. Quantum computing solutions are expected to be much faster, more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient in energy consumption, with so much computational power compressed in processors that can be as small as an atom.

3) Product Development: Materials, Pharma, Medical, Chemical Companies, And Others

It will be far easier and quicker to conduct trial and error experiments among millions of compounds and analyze immense databases of medical treatment outcomes. Graphene, the material developed through quantum computing, is considered the strongest, most flexible and most conductive material. It’s currently being used in products including tennis rackets, helmets, bikes, headphones, and light bulbs. Boeing is working to develop the developing next generation materials for airplanes together with IBM’s quantum teams. Quantum helps firms simultaneously evaluate and optimize multiple product features and attributes for new product development. It will speed up finding new potential drugs by doing faster simulations at the molecular level.

4) Sustainability: According to Gema García Gonzalez, Director of Corporate Venturing, Open Innovation, and Technology Business Development at Repsol, who is working on proof-of-concept testing with Qilimanjaro, Repsol believes the partnership will accelerate solutions getting to market focused on decarbonization and help reach the company’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

5) Competitive Marketing Claims About Data Security

Banks, cloud computing companies like IBM and Salesforce, e-commerce players like Amazon, and social media companies process and store lots of data. Having the most secure data storage is a competitive advantage. At the February 2023 Mobile World Congress, IBM’s booth featured the claim “We’re charting the roadmap for quantum-safe networks that protect user data”.

6) Finance: Portfolio Optimization And Foreign Exchange Trading Profits:

Investment banking firm objectives are to improve the portfolio growth rates for clients and minimize downside risks. Quantum computing can significantly help in these areas and lead to marketing superiority claims.

7) Supply Chain, Warehousing, Logistics & Last Mile Delivery

Examples in the logistics sector include commercial distribution, airline route optimization, and efficiently packing containers on ships. Quantum can lower costs and energy through more efficient routing, and also improve customer service and speed to market, resulting in performance advantages that can impact marketing claims.

8) Reducing Airline No Shows: Vueling, a subsidiary of International Airlines Group that includes British Airlines and Iberia, recently concluded a study to better understand and predict customer no-shows, so occurrences can be reduced. The quantum proof-of-concept findings proved statistically more accurate, nuanced, and helpful vs. results derived from classical computing (computing as we currently know it).

9) Digital Marketing And Marketing Mix Modeling Optimization

Marketing Mix Modeling optimization, like any other optimization problem, will likely eventually be solved by quantum computers. There will also likely be uses for quantum computers focused on ad servers, applying the most efficient quantum algorithms to improve ad bidding processes.

While Quantum technology isn’t completely ready, many companies are engaging in proof-of-concept tests with start-ups like Qilimanjaro to compare the speed, cost savings, and other benefits generated by quantum advances. Companies in functions and sectors including energy, retail, telecommunications, financial services, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, the postal service, sustainability, supply chain, logistics, transportation, last mile delivery, defense, cybersecurity, and materials are starting to experiment with Quantum.

Initiatives like Quantum Spain are finding success, synergy, and accelerating progress by bringing government support, academic institutions with cutting edge research and talent education, start-ups, and big business together in a mutually inspiring, learning eco-system.

Key Take-Aways For CMOs

1) Investigate quantum efforts that your company may have already started. Marketers are not always aware of them.

2) Think about the biggest pain points on your customers’ journeys and where there is significant data that might be analyzed to find quantum-based solutions.

3) Identify potential marketing and advertising claims that will have the biggest impact on attracting new customers that quantum might uncover or substantiate as a competitive advantage.

4) Try to involve marketing personnel in internal, multi-functional, start-up trial teams to provide perspectives on how quantum can affect the marketing function, and marketing problems identified through consumer insights.

5) Since quantum computing is complicated and challenging for lay people to understand, it’s critical that quantum leaders within firms be able to communicate in ways that are understandable and actionable for non-scientists.