Are quantum computing and 6G right around the corner?

Are quantum computing and 6G right around the corner?

Are you being bombarded too?

It’s a new year, which means the “top investing trends for 2022” articles are likely flooding your inbox.

In the world of tech, there’s enough going on to make your head spin…

If you’ve been with us for a while, you’re already familiar with the big ones: computer vision, edge computing, and more.

You’ve heard of all these before they were buzzwords. Maybe you’ve even profited off them like many of our readers. While they’re not old news… they don’t offer as much upside as they did two years ago.

What about the earlier-stage tech trends that haven’t taken off yet? Get in on the right “ground floor” opportunities and you can set yourself up for big gains.

That’s where Chris Wood comes in. He’s our early-stage disruption expert. In early 2020, he was one of the only analysts I knew researching targeted ads in streaming. He recommended the clear leader in this space, Magnite (MGNI), and readers cashed in a year later for 422% gains.

He recommended virtual real estate play eXp World Holdings (EXPI)—a company that lets real estate agents communicate with each other in a digital world—in 2019. In essence, this was an early metaverse call, and readers cashed in for a 376% profit.

I recently chatted with Chris about the next early-stage trends investors need to familiarize themselves with today.

Over the next two days, Chris will set some realistic expectations—and time frames—on four exciting tech trends that are “next up.”

We start with 6G and quantum computing…

***

Chris Reilly: Chris, you recommended 5G plays to your readers back in January 2019. You called 5G “the great upgrade”—the new superfast cell network that promises to change the world.

But now… I’m already seeing ads for 6G.

Does that mean the 5G era is over?

Chris Wood: No. We’re still in the early innings of 5G.

But we just reached an exciting inflection point that shows 5G is finally starting to take off this year.

In the third quarter of 2021, sales of 5G-enabled devices surpassed sales of 4G-only devices for the first time ever.

When this has happened in the past, a surge of new services and applications has followed.

When 4G devices started to outsell 3G devices, for example, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft began their rise. Facebook flourished on the back of its mobile app. Today, most Facebook users access the platform on a mobile device.

None of this was possible on a 3G network.

We’re already starting to see the same thing happen with 5G applications.

For example, two Japanese companies (Sony and NTT Docomo) recently drove a car remotely from hundreds of miles away over a 5G network.

The vehicle was in Guam and the driver was over 1,600 miles away in Japan. The driver was able to operate the vehicle safely because there was no delay in the 5G network. He could see exactly what the car’s sensors saw in real time.

Reilly: That sounds like it would be impossible with 4G.

Wood: You’re right. And meanwhile, even if you have a 5G-enabled device today, you still might not be able to access a 5G network. Because wireless operators are still in the early stage of building out their networks.

That should change soon. Verizon and AT&T plan to switch on their highly touted C-band spectrum on January 19. This will bring wider 5G coverage and higher speeds to a couple-hundred-million Americans.

Long story short, 5G is finally just now on the cusp of enabling all the exciting technologies we’ve been waiting for… and many we haven’t thought of yet.

Reilly: So why are people already talking about 6G then?

Wood: Let me be clear: There’s no such thing as 6G. It simply doesn’t exist yet, and won’t for a long time.

When researchers or telecom companies talk about 6G, they’re talking about their best guesses and wish lists. There are no agreed-upon technical standards yet.

But it makes sense for industry insiders to start talking about 6G. Because it takes more than a decade to build out these networks.

A recent report by ABI Research predicted that early commercial deployment of 6G will occur in 2028 and 2029. So if we want decently widespread 6G networks in the early 2030s, the folks who make the technical standards need to start talking about it now.

But if you get an email or see an ad hyping how you can make a fortune on 6G today, don’t buy it. There’s zero substance to such a claim.

Reilly: Let’s move on to quantum computing… I’ve been hearing about this for a while. Is 2022 the year it takes off?

Wood: Yes and no.

Let me explain.

Quantum computing could eventually be the ultimate disruption. It takes advantage of the weird world of quantum mechanics to boost computing power to unimaginable new heights.

With enough computing firepower, a quantum computer could solve any problem.

If we ever achieve far-out goals like controlling the weather, colonizing Mars, or reversing human aging, quantum computing will likely be the driving force.

We’re still decades away from those kinds of things. But we’re close to a big inflection point in quantum computing: quantum supremacy.

Reilly: What’s that?

Wood: Quantum supremacy is when quantum computers can outperform conventional ones.

Google claimed quantum supremacy back in 2019. But there’s debate about that.

In September 2021, a quantum computer made by researchers in China supposedly solved a calculation in 4.2 hours that would take a classical computer thousands of years.

Then in November 2021, IBM unveiled Eagle, the world’s most powerful quantum processor to date. The company claims that “recreating one of the Eagle’s states on a regular computer would require more classical bits than there are total atoms in every single person on Earth.”

These advancements are important because at some point relatively soon, quantum computers will be able to crack the encryption we rely on to conduct our online lives. Every transaction and exchange of information online would be compromised.

The cybersecurity industry knows this is coming. So we’ll see a lot of activity to develop quantum-resistant security software in the coming years. This will open up some very interesting and profitable investment opportunities.

Reilly: What’s holding it back?

Wood: Quantum computers are incredibly difficult to build. And any slight change in temperature or any vibration can cause what’s known as “decoherence.” Once that happens, the calculation fails and must be started again.

Reilly: I see there’s a quantum computing ETF, Defiance Quantum ETF (QTUM). Any good?

Wood: Not really. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great companies in that ETF. But it’s mostly big defense and tech stocks that aren’t actually focused on quantum computing.

I’m researching potential opportunities in the space and my Project 5X readers will be first to hear about them when it’s time to act.

Reilly: Thanks, Chris. Tomorrow, we’ll get your thoughts on two other exciting tech trends that you said are more imminent than 6G and quantum computing.

Chris Reilly
Executive Editor, RiskHedge