It is true that in these challenging times of COVID, digital communication technologies have considerably facilitated the maintenance of a decent level of social connection as our lives have been significantly affected by the physical distancing guidelines. At the same time, the necessity to maintain ordinary activities during curfew has accelerated the digital transformation and its radical penetration, engaging population that was previously disinclined to use digital devices and services. In combination with the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) applications, introducing multiple interconnected devices generating high-sensitive data, it becomes of paramount importance to ensure that privacy and security will not be compromised.

In this context, it comes to great aid that quantum-based security can offer the safest solution to fortify the various network links, promising unconditional security based on the laws of nature. Turning this promise into tangible assets assumes the development of high-performance, compact and cost-effective modules for practical implementations and subsequent network-level integration.

Towards this path, in 2021, UNIQORN will evaluate in Athens the developed PIC-based DV-QKD engines in a real Passive Optical Network (PON) scenario, shown below, in order to distribute multiple secret keys to many users through an optical fiber. In practise, this shall join UNIQORN engines into a commercial FTTH infrastructure, with the ambition to demonstrate a higher level of technological readiness, opening the door thereby to a safer digital future for all of us.