BT and Innovation Martlesham to host quantum technology experts

Dr Tim Whitley at Adastral Park.

Dr Tim Whitley at Adastral Park. - Credit: Archant

Experts working in an “important new frontier in research” will today gather at BT’s Adastral Park complex near Ipswich.

BT, together with Innovation Martlesham, the park’s cluster of more than 70 technology businesses, is hosting an event to boost regional awarness of the potential of “quantum” technologies in sectors from communications to healthcare.

Dr Tim Whitley, BT’s managing director at Adastral Park, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to host so many leading experts in such an exciting field.

“Quantum technology is an important new frontier in research that has so much potential to change the way we work, and the UK has a chance to lead the world in developing and exploiting this technology.

“We’re delighted that BT and other Adastral Park companies have the opportunity to play a significant role in this cutting-edge work over the coming years.”

Among those attending today’s event will be representatives from major players in the Government-backed National Quantum Technologies Project including four quantum technology “hubs”, each led by a university – Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York – and bringing together academic and industrial partners.

The hubs focus on specific quantum technologies, ranging from communications and computing, to imaging, sensing and timing.

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Also represented will be new Quantum Metrology Institute that will support the hubs’ work. The collective aim is to stimulate exploitation of the UK’s research excellence in quantum science to promote support of industry around the technologies made possible by it.

The hubs will set out how companies can get involved in the quantum programme, and how to exploit the facilities being made available for product and service development.

Earlier this month, BT, Toshiba Research Europe and ADVA Optical Networking, key industry partners in the Quantum Communications Hub led by the University of York, revealed the results of a ground-breaking experiment conducted at Toshiba’s Cambridge Labs, which uses quantum techniques to securely share cryptographic “keys” used in network security. This experiment lays the groundwork for a whole new field of secure fibre optic networks, underpinned by the laws of physics.

The University of York’s Professor Tim Spiller, director of the Quantum Communications Hub, said: “The recent advances in Quantum Key Distribution demonstrated at Toshiba’s Cambridge Labs clearly show the potential for Quantum technologies to transform many areas of our daily lives. This was a new milestone for the protection of our networks and our data.

“Achievements like this across all industry sectors can create a thriving new market for quantum technologies and make the UK a global leader in this field.”

As a partner in the Quantum Communications Hub, Innovation Martlesham – which included technology start-ups, major IT vendors and spin-offs from BT’s own research operations – has already been invited to take part in the development of new commercial products and services.