Something to look forward to: Toshiba has been awarded a quantum-based network development contract by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Toshiba recently announced its intention to break into the quantum computing market. The move is in lockstep with the company's latest strategy to shift to more economically resilient technology markets. The firm recently moved away from its floundering laptop business after a 35-year stint.

Toshiba is currently working on quantum cryptography projects involving Verizon and the UK's BT Group. The company's endeavor, as relayed by its top brass, is to provide unhackable quantum-based communication solutions to telecommunication clients.

Its quantum computing segment targets vulnerable sectors such as finance, health care, and defense. Quantum key distribution (QKD) technology will be used to connect trusted remote partners through a dedicated network that utilizes photon technology for security.

According to a statement provided by Corporate Vice President Taro Shimada, quantum cryptography will be at the heart of the communication setup. The following is an excerpt from his statement regarding this.

"Our business plan goes far deeper and wider than selling quantum cryptographic hardware. We are developing a quantum platform and services that will not only deliver quantum keys and a quantum network, but ultimately enable the birth of a quantum internet."

Quantum technology uses the behavioral properties of photons and electrons to secure data. It also leverages these elements to speed up information processing.

Quantum technology uses the behavioral properties of photons and electrons to secure data. (Image: Phys)

The technology is among the next frontiers in data security. As such, major US tech behemoths such as IBM, Microsoft, and Google are already involved in related projects. Last year, Google claimed to have made a breakthrough in the segment by achieving quantum supremacy.

The rapid development of quantum processing capabilities is currently critical to network security, especially now that state actors such as Russia and China are getting involved. The primary weakness of conventional networks is that data transmitted can be easily intercepted and decrypted using futuristic brute-force decryption algorithms run by powerful quantum computers. This drives the need for quantum-based distributed-key solutions.

There are fears that the current advances in quantum computing will make current encryption methods obsolete.

Due to rising demand, Toshiba estimates that it will generate $3 billion in revenue from its quantum computing venture by 2030. It predicts that the market will have grown by about $12 billion in the next ten years.

Image credit: Ibcc