News | 10 Nov 2022

Quantum mania: Vodafone Group and IBM look to the future

The two companies will investigate how quantum computing could improve telecommunications, including encryption and cybersecurity.

Vodafone Group is partnering with IBM to research how quantum computing could be used in telecommunications, as well as to boost its own expertise in quantum computing.

Future quantum computers could be so much faster than traditional computers that they could easily crack the encryption standards currently used to keep communications safe and private, a feat that is effectively impossible with traditional computers.

IBM has developed its Quantum Safe cryptography technology to protect against this; Vodafone will explore how Quantum Safe could be used on its networks. Vodafone will also explore use cases for quantum computing in telecoms.

The quantum leap

Quantum computing is fundamentally different from traditional computing. The traditional computers that we all know and use every day use silicon transistors, microscopic circuits that can be switched ‘on’ or ‘off’, to process data.

In a quantum computer, the atomic equivalent of those circuits can not only be ‘on’ or ‘off’ but also both of those states at the same time. This mind-bending property enables quantum computers to – in theory – be exponentially faster than any traditional computer.

Such a huge leap in performance could revolutionise research in fields such as physics, biochemistry, cryptography, pharmacology and meteorology.

Partnering with IBM provides us with access to quantum technology which has the potential to provide incredible network optimisation,” said Luke Ibbetson, head of group Research & Development at Vodafone Group.

“It’s the sort of innovation that existing computers will never achieve alone, allowing us to save energy, reduce costs and give customers great connectivity in more places.

“Investing in quantum-safe cryptography now, also gives us the peace of mind that our infrastructure and customer data will also always be secure as we explore the benefits of quantum computing.”

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