Event round-up: Quantum communications and the telecoms sector

On 21 May, techUK’s Technology and Innovation Programme joined forces with the Communications Infrastructure and Service Programme for a joint event on quantum communications and the telecoms sector.  

This session was hosted by Laura Foster, Tech and Innovation Programme Manager at techUK, with Sophie James, Programme Manager for Communications Infrastructure and Services – who were joined by speakers: 

  • Professor Tim Spiller, Director of Quantum Communications Hub 

  • Jonathan Legh-Smith, Head of Scientific Affairs, BT  

  • Dong-hi Shim, Team Leader, 5GX Standards Teams, SK Telecom 

You can watch the panel below: 

Quantum driven technologies, solutions, products and services are expected to bring profound changes to the telecommunications sector.    

For telecommunications, the future of fibre-optical communications has the potential to be transformed by quantum-based techniques that use the inherent quantum mechanical properties of light. These techniques will make a significant impact on the telecoms sector in areas such as secure communications, through quantum key distribution (QKD), and encrypted transmissions, as well as quantum computation and the control of large complex dynamic communications networks. Communications itself could fundamentally change in taking advantage of the laws of quantum physics to communicate, via the transmission of data using photons.  

The potential of Quantum technologies for telecommunications is part of a wider push in the UK towards commercialisation of Quantum products and services. Given this new direction of travel, techUK convened our speakers from the Quantum Communications Hub, BT and SK Telecom to understand how the telecoms market can benefit from the full potential of quantum technology.  

In our discussion, panellists stressed the importance of standards in deploying quantum in telecoms networks, offering operators the interoperability necessary to effectively use services like QKD and PQC (Post-Quantum Cryptography). It was noted that now is a pivotal moment for the commercial opportunities to be realised, and will be a global endeavour throughout the next decade. The telecoms sector should focus on requirements for different verticals and sectors when adopting quantum computation. Finally, 2021 could mark the moment in which the concrete demonstrators and applications are expanded to commercial deployment.  

This session is just one part of techUK’s year-long campaign on Quantum Commercialisation. In 2021, techUK will bring together the technology sector, key stakeholders, policy makers and the wider business community to discuss whether we have in place what is needed to drive forward the commercialisation of Quantum technologies; create a thriving Quantum market for new products and services; and support the development of a world leading Quantum industry.

Alessandra Baldacchino

Alessandra Baldacchino

Policy Manager, Data, techUK

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Head of Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID, techUK

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Programme Manager, Technology and Innovation, techUK

Sue Daley

Sue Daley

Director, Technology and Innovation

Zoe Brockbank

Programme Coordinator, Policy, Tech and Innovation, techUK

Jo O'Riordan

Jo O'Riordan

Head of Spectrum Policy and Telecoms, techUK

Sophie James

Sophie James

Programme Manager, Communications Infrastructure and Services, techUK

Julia Ofori-Addo

Julia Ofori-Addo

Programme Assistant, BSG, Central Government, Financial Services Team, Comms Infrastructure, techUK

 

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