KETS and Airbus partner on Innovate UK grant to secure UAVs with quantum encryption

KETS Quantum Security Ltd is delighted to be working with partners; Airbus, ID Quantique and the Universities of Oxford and Bristol to develop a low-weight, high-speed free-space optical communication system with highly secure quantum encryption and eavesdropping detection.

This project is funded, in part, by Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency which recently announced the winners of £14m of national investment into this area. It is part of the £270m government investment in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, with a mission to support the translation of revolutionary technology from the lab into the commercial market.

Innovate UK projects must be collaborations between one or more businesses, normally at small/medium-sized enterprises level (SME). Looking to be at the forefront of the new quantum revolution, Innovate UK has invested in these cutting-edge start-ups looking to take quantum technology out of the lab and into the real world. At the same time, they are encouraging close academic involvement from the labs which these technologies came from.

KETS’ CTO and former University of Bristol Quantum Technology Enterprise Fellow, Philip Sibson said. “This is an exciting year for us and this project presents a fantastic opportunity for KETS to demonstrate our chip to chip QKD system in a working prototype.  Working with partners such as Airbus means that we also have the benefit of their expertise and experience to ensure that the technology we’ve been developing for years in the lab translates successfully into real world applications. “

The project, which runs until March 2019 will see the development and demonstration of a very low Size Weight and Power (SWaP), QKD enabled unit suitable for the primary target of this proposal; the UAV market. Future potential applications also include space platforms, telecommunications (ground fibre based systems) and critical infrastructure; bringing with it end-users from finance, government, and data centres.

KETS’ Head of Technical Sales, Jake Kennard added, “Both the desktop demonstrator and the prototype UAV system we’re developing will provide an excellent way to demonstrate our technology to these other markets. We’re certainly not taking the easy route starting with drones!”


Quantum talk with Telecom Infra Project.

KETS at the TIP Summit in Santa Clara, Nov 2017

Ahead of our trip to Mobile World Congress this week, Chris spoke to June Shin McCarthy, Manager of the TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centres (TEAC). TEAC is part of the global Telecom Infra Project (TIP) initiative that aims to shake up the traditional approach to building and deploying telecoms network infrastructure. The ‘ecosystem acceleration centres’ host start-ups backed by a $170m (£135m) London investment fund. The centres, at Adastral Park and in London’s Tech City, are run by BT and give start-ups like us direct collaboration with leading experts from BT, the TIP community and Facebook.

Q. In a nutshell, what technology solution does KETS offer?

Data security is critical to a wide variety of customers including defence, telecoms, and critical infrastructure; bringing with it end-users from finance, government, and data centres. KETS offers secure communications using future-proof, scalable, and easily-deployed hardware. The team has developed the world’s first integrated, on-chip quantum secured encryption technologies – from quantum random number generators to full quantum key distribution devices.

Q. Why are these technologies important?

You and I actually use encryption every day, from paying for your coffee on your card to logging into your email and bank account.  You can find uses from finance, to medical records, to critical infrastructure.  Security of information technology is one of the key problems we believe will define the next evolution in IT.  Even as machine learning, AI, and a myriad of other technologies crowd the spotlight, fundamentally if you can’t communicate securely you’re very limited in your applications. And on a personal level, we think everyone deserves the right to privacy.

Q. Tell us about your team

Philip Sibson, our CTO & Co-Founder, is arguably the world leader in integrated photonic systems for quantum communication. He is the lead developer behind the world’s first chip-to-chip QKD demonstration and the main inventor on both of KETS’ patents. Jake Kennard, our Technical Sales Lead & co-founder is busy educating potential customers on their need  for KETS technology. Jake has in-depth technical knowledge and many years of experience in integrated photonics. Our Director of Operations, Caroline Clark, is driving KETS’ multiple projects forward and helping us to build our business systems. We also work with a non-executive director, Claudio Marinelli whose advice has been invaluable on our journey so far.

You can read the whole of this interview in the latest TEAC newsletter.

What does quantum computing mean for the world’s best security systems?

Quantum computers are on the rise, with increasing numbers of well-funded start-ups (e.g. Regetti), big businesses (like Intel, Google, and Microsoft) significantly investing in to development, and bigger breakthroughs at an increasingly faster rate.

The world of information security should be taking notice as current public key cryptography is in danger. Efficient quantum algorithms are known to crack the underlying problems behind RSA and elliptic curve, and, as highlighted in the Times this past week, this problem is becoming more mainstream than ever before. In a surprising move a little over a year ago, the US NSA declared that the algorithms it had insisted were the best way to lock up secret data just weren’t safe anymore; no longer recommending a change to elliptic curve, but instead, preparation for quantum resistant algorithms.

KETS CTO, Philip Sibson commented: “Post-Quantum algorithms are analogous to modern public key crypto, but instead of finding mathematical problems that are not only hard for a classical computer to solve, they must also be inefficient for a quantum computers as well. This approach will certainly be adopted for many security applications, but with quantum computers in their infancy and much still to be understood about their computational power, these techniques suffer from greater uncertainty about their claims of security, with many proposed solutions being retracted after efficient algorithms are found to crack them (e.g. GCHQ’s Soliloquy public-key cryptosystem).

Quantum resistant security, doesn’t just have to be software, and can benefit from our hardware based technologies. Quantum random numbers can strengthen algorithmic security, providing a solid foundation from truly random and unpredictable numbers and quantum key distribution (QKD) can share the most secure symmetric digital keys for security protocols like encryption. We are using the properties of quantum mechanics to fight the threats that quantum technologies pose.”

This step towards improved levels of security is crucial in the coming years. Quantum computers are coming, and purport to break our current encryption with ease. Critical infrastructure, industrial IoT, and network security are under greater and greater stress to provide robust and reliable services.

Contact us today ( to find out more about our technology and the solutions we can provide to counter the quantum computers of the near future.

KETS at Mobile World Congress 2018


The KETS team are heading off to the 2018 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. As part of the TEAC programme and based within the Facebook private space, the team will exhibiting our latest secure communications systems and will be ready to answer your questions on Monday 26th Feb and Wednesday 28th Feb.

Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organised by the GSMA and held in the Mobile World Capital, Barcelona, 26 February – 1 March 2018.

The UK Telecom Infra Project Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC) is based at BT Lab facilities in London’s Tech City and Adastral Park, Suffolk. Telecom Infra Project (TIP)  was founded last year by EE, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Nokia, Intel and SK Telecom. TIP is a global movement comprising more than 450 operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies who want to challenge and transform the traditional approach to building and deploying telecoms network infrastructure. KETS is one of three UK SMEs to win a place on the programme.

KETS showcasing our technology at the Cybersecurity Showcase Day

KETS was privileged to take part in Phase2 of the Cybersecurity Academic Startups Programme, supporting the Develop strand of the National Cyber Security Strategy.

Funded by DCMS in partnership with Innovate UK, the programme provided support for the development of our prototypes and allowed us to develop connections and with relevant businesses and industrialists from across the UK.

October 19 was ‘Showcase Day’ held at Level 39 , Canary Wharf which proved to be a fantastic networking setting.

Click here to view highlights of the day (skip to 0:35 to hear from our Head of Technical Sales, Jake Kennard).

Jake commented “this showcase is really vital to small hardware startup companies like us. It’s all about commercially validating everything we’ve been working on in the lab.”

KETS founding team attend TIP Summit in California, USA

KETS founders Chris Erven, Phil Sibson and Jake Kennard.

Last week, our founding team were one of three UK SMEs showcasing their technology at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Summit 2017 in Santa Clara, California. With thought-provoking keynotes and insightful technical presentations from BT, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Reliance Jio and Telefonica, this was an excellent opportunity to KETS to showcase our QKD and Integrated Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG) technologies.

The TIP conference didn’t disappoint and allowed us to gain huge exposure for KETS, particularly with Mansoor (Hanif) from BT, June (Shin McCarthy) from TIP, and the other Telcos really highlighting the TEAC companies throughout the Summit. The footfall we got from potential investors, partners, and customers was much heavier than anything we expected – with lots of great contacts we’re already following up with.

Our CEO, Chris commented: “The TIP programme is crucial for start-ups like KETS, as VCs typically shy away from those looking to engage with large Telcos because of their long sales cycles. TIP and the TEAC programme really shows that Telcos are investing in next generation innovation and trying to move more quickly; this is great for KETS, since we believe we really have something of value to protect our telecommunications networks with the unprecedented security our chip-scale quantum encryption can offer.”

TEAC companies at the TIP Summit 2017


Bristol to be the centre of the quantum tech industry in the UK

Photo of KETS CTO Phil Sibson

The University of Bristol has this week, announced plans to establish the world’s first open access Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre, focusing on taking quantum research from the lab and into the commercial world and positioning the UK as a global leader in the field.

The £43 million Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre (QTIC) has been funded in partnership by £15 million from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), £21 million from industrial partners and £7 million from the University of Bristol. It will be based in the University’s new enterprise campus, to be built in the heart of the city.

KETS CEO, Chris Erven said “Together, we can capitalise on the very large investment in quantum technology in the UK. We look forward to being one of the first tenants of QTIC, as we strive to grow KETS into a vibrant, expanding, and innovative digital communications security company empowering next generation IT systems and leading the Quantum 2.0 revolution.”

“QTIC looks to bring networks of people and different application areas together with new technologies to foster radically different ideas and this is exactly what companies like ours will need to be successful in this new and emerging market.”

The Government has already shown its commitment to making the UK a ‘go-to’ place for the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies, investing £270 million over five years into a National Quantum Technologies Programme to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies into the marketplace.

The University of Bristol, where KETS technology was developed, is a major partner in two Quantum Hubs and predicts through its current QT enterprise programme that it will help to establish over 40 new quantum businesses as a result, which in turn will benefit from the facilities on offer at QTIC.


KETS announced as Telecom Infra Project start-up competition winners

BT, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and Facebook today announced KETS as one of the first three small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to be admitted into the UK Telecom Infra Project Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC), based at BT Lab facilities in London’s Tech City and Adastral Park, Suffolk.

The TEAC initiative is part of TIP which was founded last year by EE, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Nokia, Intel and SK Telecom. TIP is a global movement comprising more than 450 operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies who want to challenge and transform the traditional approach to building and deploying telecoms network infrastructure.

KETS, along with the two other SMEs (Zeetta Networks andUnManned Life), will join the TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC) in the UK, a programme announced by BT, TIP and Facebook earlier this year, which will help SMEs working in the field of network infrastructure to bring their innovative ideas to market more rapidly.

This is a fantastic opportunity for KETS and QKD technology development in the UK. We are extremely grateful and excited about our involvement in the project.

Read more on this story from BT

World’s first Chip-based Quantum Key Distribution

Complex cryptography protects our bank accounts and identities from fraud, allowing us to safely buy and sell online without ever leaving the comfort of our living rooms. But the potential introduction of ultra-powerful quantum computers renders our personal information vulnerable to direct attack.

Researchers at the University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Technology Labs (QETLabs) and KETS founders, have developed tiny microchip circuits which exploit the strange world of quantum mechanics and provide a level of security enhanced by the laws of quantum physics. These devices distribute cryptographic keys using the quantum properties of entanglement, superposition and the absolute randomness provided by quantum behaviour, which is reproducible by no other means.

Principal investigator Professor Mark Thompson said: “The system we have developed allows information to be exchanged using single photons of light in a quantum state.

“If an eavesdropper hacks your transmission, they will collapse the fragile quantum states and the system will immediately alert you to their presence and terminate the transmission.”

This work, published in the February issue of Nature Communications, has demonstrated the world’s first chip-to-chip quantum secured communication system, using microchip circuits just a few millimetres in size.

This international collaboration, including researchers from Bristol, Glasgow and NiCT in Japan, used commercial semiconductor chip manufacturers to make their devices – in much the same way as Intel pattern silicon to make the latest central processing units (CPUs). However, instead of using electricity these miniaturised devices used light to encode information at the single photon level, providing encryption keys with an unlimited lifetime.

Lead author Philip Sibson, added: “Our research opens the way to many applications that have, until now, been infeasible.

“The technology is miniaturised for handheld devices, has enhanced functionality for telecommunications networks, and employs cost-effective manufacturing to feasibly deploy quantum key distribution technology in the home.”

Dr Chris Erven explained: “As part of the UK Quantum Communications Hub, we are in the process of deploying these devices throughout the heart of the Bristol City fibre-optic network, allowing us to test out these ultra-secure communications systems in real-world scenarios.”

This work has been supported by the UK Quantum Communication Hub, part of the National Network of Quantum Technology hubs, demonstrating the next generation of quantum technologies.

WIRED interviews KETS about Quantum Cryptography

The article entitled “The quantum clock is ticking on encryption – and your data is under threat” explores the ways quantum computing and quantum technologies may threaten data security and the technologies which are trying to keep information safe. Of all of the technologies available WIRED agree that there is one potential quantum based system that could help keep information secure – Quantum Key Distribution

The team from WIRED interviewed our CTO, Philip Sibson, an expert in using quantum physics to build a secure key to pass information which cannot be intercepted undetected.

The full article can be read on WIRED’s website.