(QuantumXchangeBlog) 2020 was an unpredictable year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as is the case with many industries, the world of quantum technologies still saw a handful of advancements, hiccups, and everything in between. Last year, QuantumXchange published a blog covering our top five quantum technology predictions for 2020, and was inspired to give a recap of what worked, what didn’t, and where we see the industry moving towards in 2021.

IQT-News has summarized the 2021 predictions here.

Prediction 1: Competition for Achievement in Quantum Computing Will Intensify.
IBM achieved a major quantum computing milestone in 2021. The company announced its road map to construct a quantum computer containing 1000 qubits by 2023. And if a simple road map doesn’t sound very threatening, think again. IBM’s director of research, Dario Gil, reinforced the company’s plan to remain on-schedule, deeming the strategy an “execution.”

Prediction 2: Consolidation in Quantum Computing Hardware Space.
We predicted a joining of forces between major companies and smaller ones in the form of acquisitions for 2020. The smaller quantum computing hardware companies we mentioned last year (Rigetti and IonQ) continued to march to the beat of their own drums in 2020. There are a multitude of explanations to back up why these companies weren’t acquired by major industry leaders in 2020, including everything from a notable increase in competition to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But don’t hold your breath! Acquisitions may occur in 2021 as quantum computing investment continues to emerge.

Prediction 3: Investment Dollars Will Flow Towards Improving Quantum Computers and Supporting Technologies.
We believe in the quantum computing hype — and investors certainly do, too. We envision investor interest will also apply to keeping industry safe from the power of a quantum computer — predicted to break today’s encryption standards in a matter of minutes. Industry pundit and Cryptography Apocalypse book author Roger Grimes predicts 2021 will “likely see the first public acknowledgment of the quantum crypto break, where quantum computers are capable of breaking traditional public key crypto.”

Prediction 4: Investment in Developing Talent in Academia Will Continue to Increase.
In July of 2020, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation introduced the establishment of three new Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes. In summary, this was an initiative to dig a little deeper in the R&D of quantum computing, with promises to delegate $75 million to these three institutes.

Prediction 5: Quantum-Enhanced Encryption Will Play a Potentially Significant Role in 5G.
A series of trials was performed by the major telecommunications company in September to test out heightened 5G security via QKD. The success of these trials deems Verizon one of the first carriers in the United States to protect data via QKD deployment.

NOTE: IQT-News has summarized the 2021 forecasts here. QuantumXchange’s discussion of their 2020 forecast and the accuracy thereof is in the original article on the blog.