Quantum Computing Partnership: Vodafone Joins IBM Network
by Jim Masters • Nov 9, 2022
Quantum-safe cybersecurity is the nexus of a new collaboration between IBM and Vodafone Group, which is joining the IBM Quantum Network, the companies announced at IBM Quantum Summit 2022.
Vodafone, a multinational telecommunications company, joins more than 200 members of the IBM Quantum Network, a global community of Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and research labs, according to a prepared statement. These groups work together to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications.
Quantum Advancements Envisioned
The partnership gives Vodafone cloud access to IBM’s advanced quantum computing systems and will work with IBM, a Top 250 MSSP, to help validate and progress potential quantum use cases in telecommunications, the companies said. Vodafone will also advance their employees’ skills in quantum technology through iterative prototyping led by IBM.
Additionally, Vodafone will explore how to apply IBM Quantum Safe cryptography technology across its network infrastructure and systems, the companies said. Correspondingly, Vodafone will actively recruit quantum computing experts to build a dedicated capability within its ranks.
Scott Crowder, vice president of IBM Quantum Adoption and Business Development, explained the advantages to the partnership with Vodafone:
“Vodafone, as a leading mover in telco, is setting the example for their industry by exploring quantum computing applications for their business operations, as well as applying quantum-safe cryptography protocols to protect their long-term data and systems. We’re excited to partner with Vodafone to help them simultaneously adopt quantum technology and move to quantum-safe technology as they serve an entire ecosystem of operators, vendors, regulators and open-source community.”
The Quantum Computer Imperative
IBM explains that future quantum computers will pose a threat to today’s standard security, such as public key encryption. As such, quantum-safe cryptography protocols can help protect data and systems from quantum computers’ potential decryption capabilities.
IBM noted that he US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently announced that four algorithms, three of which IBM helped develop, have been chosen to be part of a protocol for standardization by 2024.
Luke Ibbetson, head of group research and development at Vodafone, explained how his company’s exploration of these protocols marks an IBM Quantum Safe first in understanding and preparing for risk in telecommunications:
“Partnering with IBM provides us with access to quantum technology that has the potential to provide incredible network optimization. It’s the sort of innovation that existing computers will never achieve alone, allowing us to save energy, reduce costs and give customer great connectivity in more places. Investing in quantum-safe cryptography, now, also gives us the peace of mind that our infrastructure and customer data will also always be secure as we explore the benefits of quantum computing.”