Navigating Quantum Computing’s Potentials: Key learnings from our pilot project and business network

Understanding possible future disruptions is a necessity for every company, and thus also for company advisors. Therefore, quantum computing has been on our radar due to its revolutionary potential for businesses. August is among the 20+ Finnish companies that have started a network of cooperation to explore the opportunities emerging from advances in the field. 

Quantum computing, or QC, is a new paradigm in computation that utilizes the principles of quantum physics in calculations. QC’s bits, called qubits, can be in multiple states at the same time – instead of just 1 or 0, like traditional computers. This gives them the potential to process exponentially more data than classic binary code machines and make calculations that are out of reach even for today’s conventional supercomputers. 1,2  In other words, previously infeasible computational problems will become feasible, which brings revolutionary effects on both societal and industrial level. 

“Quantum computing is expected to have groundbreaking impact on our society. The most promising application areas are the ones that deal with nature’s quantum phenomenon such as development of new drugs, chemicals, and advanced materials. “  
-Arto Wallin, Senior Scientist, VTT

As we like to witness the emergence of new technologies up close, August has joined BusinessQ, a business network coordinated by VTT that aims to maximize the benefits of quantum technology for industry and business in Finland. The network enables the matchmaking of the Finnish quantum technology providers and end-user companies that will be the direct and indirect beneficiaries of the quantum revolution. The 20 and growing organization members currently cover a wide spectrum of areas including quantum hardware, software and research, consultancy and end-user companies e.g. in the financial and insurance sectors.   

“BusinessQ has a vital role for Finnish business life in creating an ecosystem where companies can collaborate with research organizations to ensure the emergence of commercial applications of quantum tech and ensuring that Finland is a competent player in the field on the global scale. Although quantum computing benefits await in the future, the companies should start the learning already now.” 
– Ville Kotovirta, Research Team Leader, VTT 

A recent undertaking of August and other companies interested in QC is a newly launched research project FutureQ that helps businesses understand the future impact of QC on their operating environment and market formation. The insights learned during the project will be shared through multiple channels with a focus on answering the questions:  

  • How will quantum computing (QC) shape different industries and their market conditions? 
  • What are the concrete QC use cases in different industries? 
  • What kind of actions do the companies need to carry out to benefit from QC?  

Despite the growing interest in the field, many companies still watch the development of quantum computing from afar. As we at August like to “brave the future”, we kicked off a pilot project with subject matter experts at the VTT research institute and Stora Enso to investigate possible applications of QC in their internal processes. This hands-on project generated several insights on the current state of QC and its applicability to solve real-life pain points in our client’s production processes. Our key takeaways from the project are: 

1. Today, QC is held back not by software but hardware limitations… 

Current state-of-the-art quantum hardware has roughly 100-200 qubits. This amount – considering even the near future capacity increases – is only sufficient for a few limited use cases. We estimated that the hardware needed to tackle the manufacturing optimization problem as large as our client hoped to solve with QC will not be available for another 10 to 15 years. However, the QC software is more developed, for instance the major QC companies such as D-Wave, Algorithmiq, Rigetti and IBM are all providing very advanced quantum algorithms already today. Having identified the bottleneck for using QC in their optimization tasks, our client can better follow the progress made especially in hardware and prepare for the upcoming shift  

2. …but we already know how it will eventually be useful 

Although the hardware development is still in its early stages, we do have a good idea of the kinds of problems QC will be able to solve:  

i. Difficult problems with a small number of variables. One example is the travelling salesman problem, which is a classic optimization problem of finding the most efficient loop path between a set of points  

ii. QC is also more suitable for problems that can be broken down into several smaller entities. This enables sequential use of the quantum computer or calculating some parts with a classical computer 

iii. Tasks where the likelihood of faulty results can be tolerated are the best first use cases for QC as the technology is still prone to errors 

3. Certain software providers (e.g. optimization software) are likely to be on the frontline of QC implementation 

A common use case for QC in manufacturing context is optimization (e.g. optimizing raw material usage or supply chain operations), and these optimization challenges are often solved with a 3rd party software. Since the software providers are continuously looking ways to improve their performance and QC technology has an exponential impact on computation, it’s likely that the software vendors will be the early birds in QC. 

4. Companies need to be on the pulse of QC development  

Despite the important role of software and hardware providers, manufacturing companies need to be on the pulse of QC development. Instead of relying on subcontractor’s product roadmap, companies should have people or at least a person with general QC knowledge and sufficient technical know-how. This will enable efficient co-operation with vendors and make it less likely that the company will miss the QC train when competitors start to board.   

“Although quantum computing technology has yet to mature enough for our more complex use cases, the assignment carried out with August and VTT revealed valuable insight into its applicability for certain problems, like production optimization. Additionally, the assessment highlighted the crucial role of our optimization solution vendors and their responsibility to track the development of quantum technology and integrate it into the solution when appropriate.” 
Eduard Reutner, SVP, Stora Enso Wood Products 

If you would like to stay up-to-date on QC topics, including hardware and software advances, commercial applications and industry players, we recommend that you follow the Finnish Quantum Institute under which BusinessQ operates. Keep in mind that we are also happy to work with you and VTT experts in the areas of foresight and technology to help you to identify and validate specific use cases where quantum computing can benefit your company and support you to increase your company quantum era readiness.   

For more information please contact:

Jasmin Jutila
+358 44 018 2431


  1. IBM – What is quantum computing? Link
  2. Quantum Computing (Wired guides), 2021, Amit Katwala. Link