Honeywell looks to quantum to boost smart meter security

Honeywell recently moved to address ongoing concerns about the security of smart meters, and when it did, it did not have to go very far. The company owns a majority stake in Quantinuum, a firm that, among other pursuits, provides encryption key technology that has been hardened by Quantinuum’s own H-Series quantum computers.

Specifically, Honeywell is using Quantinuum’s Quantum Origin cybersecurity technology in its Honeywell Smart Energy and Thermal Solution products, including smart meters for residential and commercial markets. This is believed to be the first case in which a smart meter provider has added quantum-related security capabilities to its products. Honeywell products that incorporate Quantum Origin are already available to customers in North America and Europe, Honeywell said.

“By integrating Quantinuum’s quantum-computing-hardened encryption technology into our smart meters, we’re advancing data security for our customers and helping to shape the dialogue on how the utility industries should approach cybersecurity in the quantum era,” said Hamed Heyhat, President of Smart Energy and Thermal Solutions at Honeywell. “This integration underscores how continuous innovation enables customers to stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape. It is a level of protection that is vitally important in our increasingly digital and interconnected world.”

Duncan Jones, Head of Cybersecurity at Quantinuum last year told Fierce Electronics that because Quantum Origins encryption keys rely on the unpredictability of quantum physics to produce randomized keys they are “as close as possible to being the strongest cryptographic keys in the world.”

Honeywell’s endorsement of Quantum Origin, while seeming like a natural move, also could be an important one in helping to raise the profile of Quantinuum, a company created in 2021 from the merger of Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum Computing. Though the company’s H-Series quantum computers continue to advance on the performance front and rack up research advances and pilot to projects, quantum computers for the most part remain years away from broad commercial deployment. Quantum Origin, meanwhile, is available now and could provide a path to more near-term revenue. Quantinuum reportedly had about $5 million in sales for the full year of 2022.