British Gas buys AlertMe, the company behind its Hive thermostat

Although there's an abundance of companies now offering smart thermostats, it's British Gas' Hive product that holds the top spot in the UK. The controller, which has now been installed in over 150,000 homes, relies on automation algorithms and mobile apps to keep people warm, all with a little help from a company called AlertMe. Not content with a 21 percent share in its partner, British Gas is spending big: it's just confirmed that it's paid £44 million to buy AlertMe, with the grand plan of launching its heating and automation products worldwide.

While AlertMe provides the white-label tech for British Gas, the company has a broad focus on the Internet of Things. When we caught up with Kassir Hussain, Director of Connected Homes at British Gas, late last year, he told Engadget that smart thermostats were just the start for Hive, suggesting we could see things like door sensors and other smart home products added to the company's portfolio. With Google's Nest expanding beyond heating, British Gas is keen to keep pace with its international rival. One way for it to do that is to expand internationally, but also grow the range of products and services it offers.