Eric Schmidt and Marc Benioff are backing a new company that aims to protect businesses against quantum cyberattacks
(Forbes) The always excellent Martin Giles, the editor of the CIOs network writes about the strategic use of technology by businesses. In this article, Giles discusses the roles of Eric Schmidt (the former chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet) and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff within the group of investors backing Sandbox AQ, a newly independent quantum business that was formerly embedded within Alphabet. Inside Quantum Technology summarizes Giles’ key points here.
According to Schmidt, Sandbox AQ—the A stands for AI and the Q for quantum—has a game plan that involves generating short-term revenue by using machine learning and AI to develop software that protects data from cyberattacks involving quantum computers, which tap some of the almost-mystical properties of quantum physics to generate processing power that can outstrip that of even the most powerful supercomputers.
Companies and governments are already preparing their data and networks for the day when those hurdles are finally overcome. “At some point in the future, it should be possible to break [conventionally] encrypted data,” says Schmidt. “That is a huge, huge thing.”
Sandbox AQ will be playing in an increasingly competitive field. Its financial backers, who in addition to Schmidt and Benioff’s TIME Ventures include T. Rowe Price, Breyer Capital, Guggenheim Partners and billionaire investor Thomas Tull, are betting its experience building protection for Google will help it stand out. Sandbox AQ will work closely with Google Cloud, helping to provide quantum-safe cryptography to the cloud computing group’s customers, but this won’t be an exclusive arrangement.
Sandbox AQ has already signed up several customers, including Mount Sinai Health System in the U.S. and Japan’s Softbank, which plans to test quantum-secure algorithms on its 4G, 5G and WiFi networks later this year.
Revenue from such deals will help support the longer-term research that Sandbox AQ is planning. Onboard quantum sensors could be valuable for, say, ships and submarines that find themselves cut off from other sources of location data, such as the GPS system.
Related: IQT San Diego announces that Jack Hidary, CEO of Sandbox AQ, to offer opening keynote for the May 10-12
Several quantum businesses have already navigated to the public market, including $2.7 billion market cap IonQ and Rigetti Computing, which has a market cap of $758 million. Might Sandbox AQ be tempted to follow them to an IPO in the not-too-distant future? Schmidt tells Giles, “I’ve taken four companies public and I’m not in any hurry to do a fifth.”