We’ve seen it so many times before with disruptive technologies—most recently with the Internet of Things (IoT). I remember the first time I heard the phrase “Internet of Things” and had to delve into exactly what that meant. IoT headlines were the “thing,” promising the technology would happen virtually overnight. It didn’t. But happen, it did—and it’s big.
Similarly, disruptive quantum computing technology has been headlined for the past few years—moving from research gains and limited quantum capabilities to big promises and forecasts. The question is, when will technology gains result in viable use cases? Today’s announcement may spur those use cases, as Mitsui & Company of Tokyo, Japan, Quantinuum in the U.S., and Cambridge, U.K. announced a partnership to develop the quantum computing market in Japan and Asia Pacific (APAC).
The partnership will develop quantum computing use cases that the companies say will be an impetus for significant business transformations and innovation. Their mission is to accelerate collaboration and the development of new business models. Not only will they engage in application development, but they also will provide value-added services to those working across a variety of quantum computing domains.
Each company brings to the table substantial expertise. Quantinuum’s cutting-edge quantum computing experience, for example. Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum Computing formed Quantinuum last year, creating one of the largest global quantum companies. The company is developing applications across chemistry, cybersecurity, and finance and attacking such pressing issues as logistics, energy, climate change, and health.
Mitsui has a broad-based business platform and network. Its core business portfolio covers mineral and metal resources, energy, machinery, logistics, supply chain support, infrastructure, and chemicals industries. More recently, it has reached into such new areas as energy solutions, healthcare, and nutrition, with a strategic focus on high-growth Asian markets.
According to Mark Jackson, senior quantum evangelist at Quantinuum, “Mitsui has a diverse core business portfolio that includes corporate logistics and supply chain support while Quantinuum has experience serving logistics customers in their exploration of quantum computing’s potential. In the future, quantum computers are expected to solve complex problems that significantly optimize supply chain processes.”
“Specific quantum computing applications in supply chain/logistics could involve real-time traffic simulations as well as optimized route planning and scheduling, inventory control and resource management,” Jackson added.
So, why is this such a big deal? First, it’s the size and deep pockets of the two companies involved. Mitsui is a $75 billion global corporation, and Quantinuum is rapidly gaining value. The Quantum Insider, “Vertical Research Partners,” reported that, based on their assumptions and projections, the discounted equity value of Quantinuum could reach circa $37 billion within a decade. Given Honeywell’s 54% ownership, that would equal approximately 15% of Honeywell’s total equity.
The partnership has business interests in nearly every sector—from hospitals and logistics to green energy and satellites—and they have operations on six continents. The plans for the partnership include developing quantum computing business models and use cases covering:
- Materials development
Specific collaboration areas include quantum computational chemistry for pharmaceutical, chemical, and energy industries, quantum cybersecurity, quantum natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. Market development will focus on disseminating and sharing their quantum computing knowledge.
The companies are already collaborating successfully. For example, in May 2022, Quantinuum launched InQuanto, an advanced computational chemistry software platform using quantum computers, and announced a collaboration with Mitsui in the field.
Every new disruptive technology needs a hero (or two). This partnership can take on the role. Imagine, for example, the potential for solving logistics, supply chain challenges with quantum technology, or materials development that represents the promise of technology breakthroughs across the electronics industry. Collaboration, development, and sharing results will accelerate quantum computing across a myriad of applications, moving from promises to adoption sooner than many might think.