The Future is DARQ

The Future Is Darq

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The acronym D.A.R.Q you may not have heard of – but since last year the term has started to gain traction. First coined by Accenture in their 2019 report, it stands for the following: Distributed ledgers, AI, extended Reality and Quantum Computing. Many consultancies such as McKinsey and Accenture are focused on ensuring that their clients remain competitive in the face of rapidly emergent technologies. More and more organisations are starting to think about Quantum Computing seriously and the new framework from Accenture wholeheartedly embraces Quantum as one of the technologies underpinning the future.

The Future Is Darq
Accenture Technology Vision 2019 Report discussed DARQ

Now you have a brief introduction to the DARQ arts of the future – and we think its a term that might catch on – much as we think of FANG stocks in the technology space to represent Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. As such companies or businesses might be labelled as belonging to the DARQ category if it engages in the technologies described by any of the four letters.

DARQ Arts and Deep Tech

Particularly as the world stares at a Coronavirus pandemic, investors will be looking to understand where true value remains and flee areas or businesses that do not hold true value. We are seeing more consumer businesses begin to shed jobs (Yelp for example) as the slow-down in booking hotels and restaurants kicks in. We would not be surprised to see a re-alignment of investment themes and DARQ could be a requirement for investment.

Some reasoning is still to be proven that businesses engaged in DARQ will be less affected by the virus than others. One can certainly argue Quantum Computing and technologies are not consumer focused (they might be coupled) and therefore might provide a shelter against the forming “darling” technology companies such as AirBnB, Yelp, TripAdvisor who are suffering from consumers stuck at home. Of course there will always be winners of the current times (Home delivery services such as HelloFresh and Blue-Apron) but then again no-one currently knows how long lock-down will last or how consumers tastes will change.

That doesn’t mean the whole technology sector will be affected. Clearly, those technology companies that have a real defensible moat will likely find a way to survive and thrive and the word we all use for that is deep tech. The more diverse and deeper the technologies embraced, the better and we think that Accenture have highlighted those four key areas.

Businesses such as Google are deep tech, they are using, inventing and creating the technology and tools, as opposed to simply just using the technology. For example, Google has created Tensorflow (its Machine Learning framework), it’s own computing chips, its own programming languages and of course Quantum Computers. Now contrast other “tech” businesses which simply use these tools to solve a problem (Yelp, Airbnb).

In a nutshell we think deeper tech will likely prove a safer haven for investors money than more peripheral businesses that simply apply technology to business challenges without investing in building true innovation.

DARQ may just present a way to easily categorise businesses that are working on emerging technologies with the greatest chance of disruption. Accenture state that DARQ is the next set of technologies every company will need to master.

“Distributed ledgers, AI, extended reality and quantum computing are the next big technology catalysts for change.”

Paul Daugh, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Accenture

Putting Quantum in DARQ

The year 2019 saw many developments in the Quantum space including the announcement from Google that Quantum Supremacy had been achieved. Earlier to that IBM was first offering access to its five Qubit Quantum Computers back in 2017. The scene is clearly set, when we see so many of the major digital companies working on Quantum technology: IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Rigetti – making developments in hardware, software and algorithms. We even see long-established industrial businesses such as Honeywell announce they are working on Quantum Computers.

The Future Is Darq
DARQ as defined by Accenture. Distributed Ledger, AI, Extended Reality and Quantum Computing.

Not only are big tech involved but there are start-ups in the space developing tools and technologies and others providing quantum consultancy. Granted the technology might be in its infancy with little commercial application right now. But the likes of Volkswagen and pharmaceutical firms are exploring material research developments and the former also doing logistical optimisation using D-wave‘s quantum annealing.

What’s next for Tech

What is being touted as the post-digital world, DARQ could be the moniker that coins a new age of technological innovation. If you are not working or open to these trends that you as an individual or company could be at risk of being innovated out of existence.

Already the massive disruption of millions of people working from home due to the coronavirus may be re-ordering many existing business models. Just imagine the R or (extended Reality) from DARQ and how this could benefit millions in their quest to live healthily from home during lock-down.

Education of the workforce will play a part in this, especially quantum computing, which perhaps unlike other technologies can feel a real departure from the existing way of thinking about problems that our schools train people for.

Understanding Quantum Cryptography, Entanglement, Qubits and Quantum Key Distribution are not easy in comparison to classical computing for example – there will therefore need to be an emphasis on companies and the education system to train individuals in a sympathetic manner so they can innovate in the space.

We suspect one of the growth areas will be for people to retrain to better understand the technology and we are at the cusp of seeing an explosion of interest which has come at the same time along with courses, books and tutorials on Quantum Computing. We’ll put some of our quantum education links below.

Understanding More about Quantum Technology

We’ve written a fair amount on Quantum Education. We even know game studios set up to bridge the gap and improve Quantum literacy. There are numerous ways to achieve an understanding of Quantum computing, cryptography and more and some of our previous work is listed below:

We really love the four-letter moniker that Accenture came up with and we think it will stick around and could be the way we categorise new technology.