The research firm Markets and Markets, in a January 2019 report, projects that the size of the “global quantum cryptography market” could balloon from an estimated US$101 million in 2018 to US$506 million in 2023—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.9%. Driving these gains, according to the company’s analysis, will be the coalescing of a number of factors: increasing visibility of high-profile cyberattacks and data breaches; consequent government and business concerns about cybersecurity (and spending to address those concerns); the onset of next-gen wireless technologies; and a proliferation of devices and data to be protected.

Diverse components

The Markets and Markets team takes a broad view of the components of this nascent market. It includes, according to the report, revenue generated from quantum key distribution (QKD) platforms and servers; QKD distributors, key and policy managers; software interfaces and gateways for quantum cryptography; quantum random number generators; quantum-compatible network products and repeaters; and a variety of other “factors essential for the implementation of quantum cryptography.”

Across those areas, the study suggests that the growth rate will prove fastest in the network security segment, with a particular focus among government and defense users and in industries such as health care, retail and automotive—all of which, according to the report, have “started using quantum cryptography solutions.” Interest in QKD and quantum cryptography is driven not only by the threat of advanced classical cybersecurity attacks, but, in the background, by the longer-term threat of the emergence of quantum computers, which will likely have the ability to crack most classical security protocols.

International activity

The Markets and Markets report mentions several 2018 developments illustrating recent activity in quantum cryptography. In March, for example, the Chinese firm QuantumCTek, which is working to commercialize quantum encryption technology, announced a collaboration with the Chinese government and with Chinese academic, telecom, quantum technology and fiber optic organizations to “introduce the integration of QKD with commercial backbone network carrying 3.6 Tbps classical data.” And in October 2018, the security firm InfoSec Global teamed up with the Swiss quantum cryptography company ID Quantique to create “a quantum-safe virtual private network (VPN)” built on the latter company’s quantum random number generator product.

Notwithstanding these examples, the study envisions the biggest share of the quantum cryptography market in the near term as residing in the Americas, driven by “the rise in cyber-attacks in this region,” and the growth in the complexity of I.T. systems and increasing pressure for data privacy and security. “Countries such as the US, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico are generating significant revenue in this market,” according to the authors.

More information on the report can be found at Markets and Markets.