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Gamers break driving record

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Five bleary-eyed gamers have each completed a mammoth two-day stint at the wheel of a virtual Ford GT race car in Forza Motorsport 6 to set a new Guinness World Records title for the “longest video marathon on a racing game”.

Gamers Cara Scott, 25, from the U.K.; Hélène Cressot, from France; Johannes Knapp, 30, from Germany; Andrea Lorenzo Facchinetti, 42, from Italy; and Jesús Sicilia Sánchez, 23, from Spain, took on a simulated version of the La Sarthe circuit used for the Le Mans 24 Hours, where the real life Ford GT race car achieved a historic victory earlier this year.

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Driving for 48 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds, and completing a combined 41,004 virtual kilometres and 3015 laps, the gamers survived on power naps, sweets and soft drinks as they broke the previous record of 48 hours 1 minute.

The Guinness World Records title was later presented on the Microsoft stand at Gamescom, Europe’s biggest interactive games trade fair, in Cologne, Germany.

“They did an amazing job. Just like driving at the real Le Mans, this achievement required extreme levels of concentration, attention to detail, and most importantly endurance – because they had to keep going for twice as long as we did,” said Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver Stefan Mücke, who competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the Ford GT, and started the virtual race.

Compared with Mücke’s 136 laps of Le Mans – completed during 9:05.40 hours of real world driving – the five gamers averaged 603 laps each over 48:29.21 hours of virtual driving during the challenge with Forza Motorsport 6 for Xbox One, at Ford’s European headquarters, also in Cologne.

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Their combined 41,004 kilometres is equivalent to driving once around the world. To stay awake for two nights straight, they drank 32 energy drinks, 146 bottles of water and 47 bottles of soft drinks, and consumed more than 3 kilograms of sweets.

“For me, it’s incredible to see anyone stay up all night, whether it’s for a bumper car marathon or four days of watching television,” said Lena Kuhlmann, official adjudicator, Guinness World Records. “Two days of race gaming is a superlative effort. The endurance of the gamers is remarkable. They were engaged, concentrating and having fun even after the record was broken. It’s also great to have the actual Ford GT in view, to keep the gamers from getting completely immersed in the virtual world.”

Ford GT and Forza Motorsport 6

Ford engineers worked closely with Microsoft’s Turn 10 Studios to ensure the virtual driving experience of the cars in Forza Motorsport 6 is as realistic as possible, from the look and feel of each vehicle to distinctive engine sounds and handling styles. With the Ford GT, certain performance aspects were first revealed through the game, such as the active rear wing, which automatically changes its angle in different conditions. The Ford GT is now one of the top five most raced cars in the game and has racked up almost 71 million kilometres – nearly as far as the distance from the Earth to Mercury, when at its closest.

Ford and Microsoft have combined forces again with Forza Racing Championship, the largest Forza racing competition in history. Open to elite gamers and aspiring amateurs, the championship, running until Sept. 4, will crown the best Forza player in the world, with the ultimate prize a brand new 2017 Ford Focus RS.

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“Dronekhana”

Ford this week also premiered the new “Dronekhana” video showing expert drone pilots tackling a unique and challenging course – involving a Focus RS, a smoking Ford Mustang, and a robot, also filmed nearby at Ford’s European HQ.

World Drone Prix champion Luke Bannister, 16, and fellow Tornado XBlades team member Brett Collis, 22, both from the U.K., raced the drones over an obstacle course that also included flying through a Ford B-MAX car, under a Ford Ranger pickup and bursting through smoke-filled balloons. A rig of 36 GoPro cameras captured the lightweight racing drones mid-action in a style made famous by the 1999 film The Matrix.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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