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Jeff Kagan: IBM, Google Race for First Quantum Computer

Quantum computing could be the next tech revolution...
Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan.
Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan.

Via ToNG!?

Innovation in technology has been changing the playing field repeatedly over the last several decades. One of the next big transformations is quantum computing. We have been talking about this for decades, but suddenly both IBM (IBM) and Google (GOOG) have made a strong commitment to bringing quantum computers to life sooner than you would imagine.

Google says they will introduce the first quantum computer within five years. The Google Quantum AI Laboratory says as a first step, machine using quantum computing will soon outperform traditional computing. Google calls this “quantum supremacy”.

IBM says they will offer commercial quantum computing machines for business and research within the next year. IBM admits this is a smaller step, but a milestone nonetheless. And that they will reach the next milestone within the next few years.

Quantum Computing Different from IBM Watson

So, while it sounds like quantum computing is just around the corner. Any way you slice it, quantum computing is going to be part of our future. What is a quantum computer and what does quantum computing really mean? And an even bigger question, how will it change our lives going forward?

We’ve been talking about quantum computing for decades already. Just think of all the television shows and movies about the topic. Example, you remember the time travel TV show “Quantum Leap” around the 1990 timeframe with Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell and Ziggy?

That was fiction. What IBM and Google are working on is real. Quantum computing will allow faster and deeper computing. It will introduce feats we never before thought possible. This sounds both frightening and so exciting. Just like everything new is.

Quantum Computing Great for Investors and Workers

The investment and employment possibilities will continue to grow as quantum computers and computing continue to advance over the next few decades. Quantum computing, AI, IoT, Cloud, wireless, M2M, B2B and so many other technologies are all being developed independently, but will also start to work together as time passes.

This will create incredible new growth opportunities in many new areas that don’t even exist today. This is great news for workers, investors and partners. Like every new business, there are no guarantees of success for any particular company or technology. And as time passes, what is hot today may fade away, replaced by something new.

As an example, just think about the wireless industry. Started out with analog then switched to digital. Motorola led early on until the mid 1990’s. That’s when the switch to digital took place and Nokia led the new path to growth. Then as wireless data speeds increased, Blackberry led the way into the smartphone market.

Quantum Computing, AI, IoT, Cloud, Wireless, M2M, B2B

Then exactly ten years ago the smartphone marketplace completely reinvented itself once again when Apple (AAPL) iPhone and Google Android hit the marketplace like a storm. That sent both Nokia (NOK) and Blackberry (BBRY) to the bottom of the industry, a place they still have not recovered from. Samsung lead the way with Android, but now they are having problems. If they are long term problems, there may become a new Android leader developing now.

The transformation wave continues to re-write the rules of the wireless industry. Expect the same with quantum computing. Even though we have been talking about this for decades, only now is it getting ready to become real.

That means suddenly, we will be talking more about quantum computing. This will grow into a real economic growth wave. This growth wave will help all ships rise. There will be countless media stories and lots of confusion about what’s real and what’s still coming. Chaos will be king going forward, at least for the next several years.

Quantum Computing Will Increasingly Be Center Stage Going Forward

That means real companies with real breakthroughs may get lost in all the noise. That’s the challenge – they need to focus on standing out from the crowd and the noise. This is the same problem every competitor in the wireless industry has faced over time.

Any way you slice it, the next decade will be full of news and noise and claims and counter claims. The problem is only some will be from real companies with real technology. That’s the way the business world has worked for decades, and I don’t expect any changes.

However, quantum computing is real and is rapidly growing. So are other technologies like AI, IoT and others. Over the next decade, we will see amazing growth. The only challenge will be choosing the right companies to get behind.

Growth in quantum computing may start with Google and IBM, but will explode with growth from many other large and small companies going forward. Now is the time to get familiar with the new technology whether you are an investor, worker or partner. The challenge is to find the leading companies in the space going forward. The winners both short-term and longer-term.

Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan