UK businesses making strides in quantum computing, despite the technology being considered “overhyped”

  • New data from KPMG reveals that 55% of UK business decision makers think that quantum computing is an overhyped technology.
  • Yet 91% of respondents think it is important for the UK to be a leading nation in quantum tech.
  • Furthermore, a quarter of businesses say they are already working on quantum projects.

New research of UK business decision makers, commissioned by KPMG UK and conducted by OnePoll, has revealed that most (55%) companies think that quantum computing – a type of computing that uses quantum mechanics so that it can perform certain types of computation more efficiently than a regular computer – is an overhyped technology, with 26% strongly agreeing they feel this way.

But this scepticism has not deterred organisations’ enthusiasm for the technology, as 91% think it is important for the UK to be a leading nation in quantum computing technology. The data also shows that businesses are making considerable strides in quantum, with a quarter saying they already have quantum computing projects in place, a third having either an internal team or external advisors looking into how they can use the technology, and 31% of organisations discussing how they will leverage the technology in the future. A mere 9% aren’t thinking at all about how they can take advantage of quantum, though this was significantly higher in the Utility (29%) and Hospitality (24%) sectors.

However, when asked about apprehensions to using the technology, regulation (38%) came up again as a key concern, closely followed by security issues (35%).

Commenting on the findings Ian West, Head of TMT KPMG UK said:

 

“To compete as a global economy the UK must be at the forefront of innovation, so it is troubling to see business leaders anxious about regulatory barriers potentially holding back development in quantum technologies. And while it is great to see British companies making headway in this area – even if they are still in the early planning stages – they cannot not let their concerns get in the way of progress.”  

Of the organisations yet to invest in quantum, a third (33%) will begin to do so in 2022, 44% say they will start investing in the next 1-2 years and 18% gave a 3–5-year timeframe.

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In terms of what is holding organisations back from driving more resources into quantum, limited budget (46%) and the digital skills gap (45%) came out top. The fact that quantum it is still nascent technology with ambiguity around its return on investment (40%) was another contributing factor. A further 23% of companies don’t understand the opportunities that this tech presents, which is vital when making decisions about R&D resources. Promisingly, 7% say nothing is standing in their way of increasing investment in the technology. 

West adds: “While businesses are committing considerable time and money to their quantum projects, the data hints at their trepidation. I engage with countless organisations who are unsure of the how best to take advantage of this emerging technology and question if it is even worth the investment. But it is important for business leaders to educate themselves on how it can be applied for specific use cases, so they can take advantage of the exciting opportunities it presents.”  

The data also reveals that business leaders highly rate their understanding of quantum: 55% believe they have a great deal of knowledge about what quantum computing is, with a further 27% stating that their understanding of the technology is reasonable. However, this varies considerably by sector – as expected, 77% of those in the technology sector say they have a great deal of knowledge about quantum compared with just 17% in Charity Sector, 26% in the Public Sector, 29% in Hospitality and 29% from Utilities.

 

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Methodology

The research was conducted by One Poll on behalf of KPMG UK, with 750 UK business decision makers at companies with 250+ employees being interviewed between 13th – 23rd December, 2021.

About KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 21 offices across the UK with approximately 16,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.3 billion in the year ended 30 September 2020.

KPMG is a global organisation of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Legal, Tax and Advisory services. It operates in 147 countries and territories and has more than 219,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

Contact

Lizzy Chesters – Media Relations Manager

T: +44 (0)20 3078 3732

E: lizzy.chesters@kpmg.co.uk 

KPMG UK Media Relations Team: +44 (0) 207 694 8773