Hive has only just recently been released in the US, but British Gas already has bigger plans, with a European expansion now on the cards. The company has announced that the first continental European market to receive its smart home products will be Italy, with Hive having signed a major deal with one of the country’s largest household suppliers.

Eni is one of the world’s biggest oil companies, but it completely dominates the Italian energy market, with an estimated eight million customers receiving gas and electric from the firm. In fact, the company’s size completely dwarves Centrica, the company that owns British Gas and Hive – meaning it’s well placed to fuel growth in the Hive platform.

Growth is needed too. Hive continues to face competition from Google-owned Nest and German-based Tado, which are available in more markets and boast more customers. In fact, Hive can only be found in around 660,000 homes in the UK, USA, Canada, and Ireland, while Nest products have been installed in more than 190 countries globally, so this deal with Eni could really help the company.

Hive will officially debut in Italy in the first quarter of 2018, although other markets should open during the next year too. The company is yet to confirm where it hopes to go next, although Eni already has subsidiaries in many other markets, meaning the partnership could expand outside of Italy.

While British Gas is investing heavily in expanding to new markets, the company has already bet big on the smart home market by diversifying its line-up. Gone are the days that Hive solely offer a smart heating system, with the company now boasting cameras, sensors, lights, and plugs.