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.
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.
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.
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.
Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’
Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.
Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.
“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years.
“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”
In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.
“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.
“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”
Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.
“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”
Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”.
“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”
Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.
This week, it announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.
Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”
‘Energy scavenging’ funded
As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.
Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components.
TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’
The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover.
Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.
“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”