EuroQCI Spain brings together Quantum Communications experts and prospective end-users to Bilbao for the QCI Forum

Ten years ago, the research related to quantum technologies was incubating inside labs and academic centers, concentrated into islands where novel ideas and knowledge was emerging. But just a few years afterwards, experts really saw the possibility of learning how to manipulate microscopic systems and play to their advantage in creating a new field of technology that could definitely revolutionize the world.

We are now living in the crest of the wave of the second quantum revolution, opened to new horizons of unexpected discoveries aiming to go way beyond the unfathomable prospects that many have been dreaming for, for decades.

And as new accomplishments in the field reach the media and the general public, we are driven to show the matureness stage at which we can find all these technologies based on quantum physics and what are the current applications that are being developed to

With this in mind, from the 28-29 of November, the consortium partner of EUROQCI Spain, Tecnobit -Grupo Oesia, organized in the city of Bilbao the Quantum Communication Innovation (QCI) Forum, an event that aimed to gather experts from all areas of the supply chain – academia, component and subcomponent developers, telecom operators, end-users- eager  to discuss, exchange ideas and establish synergies to tackle and overcome the future challenges in the field of deployment of quantum communication technologies in Europe

The two-day event was opened with the welcome by Mr. Ager Izagirre Loroño, Regional Minister of Public Administration and Institutional Relations of the Government of the Basque Country, together with Mr. Luis Fornells, Chairman and CEO of Grupo Oesía, who organized the event.

Professionals from the field of quantum communications, engineering, financing, banking, telecommunications, defense, space, consulting, were invited to give the audience an overview of their specific business sectors, the current technological needs and challenges they are encountering and, depending on the sector per say, posing possible solutions that current Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology could facilitate for this broad range of applications. QKD deployment uses-cases worldwide were shown to the public to assess the issue that QKD is becoming a mature technology, proven to have been tested as early as 2002 in USA, in 2009 in Tokyo, Japan, in South Korean in 2017/2020, in Italy in 2018/2021, in Madrid in 2018, in Barcelona in 2019, among several other locations.

Then, a series of round tables set the tone for conversations that delve into in-depth thought-provoking discussions. Firstly, one of the topics that was addressed was the issue that Europe is in urgent need to deploy foundries around its region, since there is a tremendous need to fabricate chips locally and at a much faster pace to compete worldwide with other major markets in the field. The fact that Europe did pursue the Chips Act is a clear indication that Europe is moving in the right direction. Secondly, some argued that QKD would have major problems in being displaced by Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC), while many defended the fact that both technologies could co-exist together and complement each other in the search of creating much more robust and unhackable cybersecurity systems. Thirdly, many invited speakers encouraged all present in the room to work in unison to contact and closely collaborate with member state National Security Agencies around Europe to present the advantages of QKD technology and work alongside to overcome the challenges present and integrate this technology within the current cybersecurity systems being used nowadays, especially when referring to Crypto Agility. Fourthly, all entities agreed on the need to establish correct standards and certification procedures to create a trusted service provided by any supplier and deploy a common, safe, standard quantum network in the future.

Finally, an encouraging talk in the consulting area gave perspectives on how venture capital and corporate investment funds have increased their investments recently towards disruptive innovative technologies in the field of quantum, especially aimed at accelerators and the startup ecosystem, this last one increasing by three-fold in the last years.

As Valerio Pruneri, coordinator of EuroQCI Spain, and Carlos Founand, director of R+D+I of Grupo Oesia, both agreed that,  “the conservations we had these two days were, in most cases, thought-provoking, aiming to sort defy and allow quantum tech providers to show the pioneering solutions that could help overcome the challenges that end-users are facing within Quantum communications and encourage them to adopt these technologies within their systems” From all the conversations that took place, it is clear that that the quantum threat should not be seeing as such, but more as an opportunity, because “it is driving many collaborations and synergies that can be used in many sectors”.

EuroQCI Spain

EuroQCISpain is a European initiative with the main objective of developing and deploying quantum communications technology in Spain within the framework of EuroQCI – European Quantum Communications Network – an initiative that will seek to deploy quantum secure communications over Europe in the next decade.

The consortium is formed by universities and research centers such as ICFO (Coordinator of the project), UPM and CSIC, industrial entities such as Cipherbit-Grupo Oesía and  Indra,  and telecommunications companies such as Telefonica and Cellnex.

The EuroQCI-Spain initiative is one of the 26 pieces of the puzzle of the European Commission’s EuroQCI, a larger quantum communications network infrastructure that will span the entire EU and provide security to our communications.

As Valerio Pruneri, coordinator of EuroQCI Spain, and Carlos Founand, director of R+D+I of Grupo Oesia, both agreed that,  “the conservations we had these two days were, in most cases, thought-provoking, aiming to sort defy and allow quantum tech providers to show the pioneering solutions that could help overcome the challenges that end-users are facing within Quantum communications and encourage them to adopt these technologies within their systems” From all the conversations that took place, it is clear that that the quantum threat should not be seeing as such, but more as an opportunity, because “it is driving many collaborations and synergies that can be used in many sectors”.